Carabao Cup matches this week meant there’s been a mini break from football for both Reading fans and the under-fire team after the defeat to Swansea City. Paul Clement faces a tough challenge as Reading boss both due to the growing unrest amongst fans and the growing injury list within the club.
Bristol City arrive at the Madejski Stadium with a formidable away record which looks to capitalise on this unrest. Will Paul Clement silence his critics and bring positive results back to the Mad Stad or will Bristol be his final game in charge?
Form (all competitions): LLWLL
The Royals are experiencing numerous injury concerns coming into this game which Paul Clement announced at his press conference on Thursday. The list includes Saeid Ezatolahi, Jon Dadi Bödvarsson, Omar Richards, Dave Edwards and Vito Mannone who are out of selection through injury. Andy Yiadom and Anssi Jaakkola are doubts but could make an appearance on Saturday.
Clement also confirmed Mo Barrow will be in the squad after “resolving” the disciplinary issue between the pair. Club captain Paul McShane is another in contention to return after losing his place to Tiago Ilori and picking up an injury.
The main talking point amongst fans coming into the game however is the manager’s job security. Nine defeats in 15 games is a worrying statistic, and the club is being pulled into the relegation sinkhole. Depending on the result it will be interesting to see what the club decide to do, as a heavy defeat could see them plummet to 23th. A win for the Royals though will take them out of the relegation zone into 20th place depending on other results.
Top goalscorer: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (7)
The Robins boast an emptier treatment room than the Royals. Defender Nathan Baker could return to the side after missing games through a head injury, whereas Frank Fielding, Eros Pisano and Korey Smith are the only confirmed players to miss the match through long-standing injuries.
City travel to Reading with an impressive away record this season, only losing twice on the road. Lee Johnson’s side had a blistering start to the campaign with five straight wins from late August to mid-September. However, this form didn’t last and have only won just two of their last seven League games. Despite this they sit comfortably in 11th - within touching distance of a play-off Place.
Bristol City have got there by playing some attacking football for the early part of the game to get goals, but they are also prone to lapses in defence and allowing the opposition to nick late undeserved winners as shown by Stoke City last weekend. In short, The Robins are an unpredictable side that could either run riot at the Madejski Stadium or be the perfect opponent for Clement to take on with an injury-plagued squad.
Top goalscorer: Andreas Weimann (5)
- Reading have Lost nine games out of 15 in the Championship so far.
- Saturday will be Paul Clement’s 100th match in management.
- Bristol City have been involved in seven 1-0 matches this season. The last time they scored more than one goal was September 18 in their 4-2 defeat to West Brom.
- The Royals have scored one more goal than the Robins this season (19). However, they have conceded 10 more goals with a total of 25.
While the week’s break will have likely helped Reading regroup it still doesn’t change the fact that a large number of key players are missing or carrying injury concerns. This doesn’t bring fans much confidence coming into the game, and it will be interesting to see what the mood in the ground will be like as the spotlight will be firmly on Clement’s team selection and tactics.
Bristol City on their day are a top team who can threaten the Reading defence all day long. However, they have been inconsistent for most of the season so I can’t fully back them to get the win on Saturday. I can see this being a low-scoring draw but with Bristol dominating for large parts of the game and Reading getting a lucky goal. Depending on the result it will be interesting what statement the club or Ron Gourlay put out regarding the safety of the manager.
Reading 1-1 Bristol City