Reading return to the Madejski Stadium this weekend after two games up north at Wigan and Leeds United. The Royals unfortunately only brought one point back with them after a dull goalless draw with the Latics before a 1-0 defeat at Elland Road.
Stoke City are the visitors to Berkshire for the first time since August 2012, when they arrived on the opening day of the Premier League season - Adam Le Fondre scored a late penalty to earn Reading a late draw. Can Reading return to winning ways or will this be another test for Paul Clement’s men?
Early team reports have confirmed Mo Barrow will be fit for selection after overcoming his illness. The Gambian’s absence had forced Paul Clement to change up the formation due to a lack of fit wingers. Danny Loader will likely remain up top for the Royals alongside Yakou Meite, with Sam Baldock still not 100% fit and Marc McNulty continuing to misfire for the Royals. Clement has stated to the press that he still backs McNulty after his penalty miss against Leeds, but he will likely keep faith with Loader. There are no other main injury concerns coming into the match apart from long term absentees such as Jordan Obita and Jon Dadi Bödvarsson.
Top goal scorers (all competitions): Jon Dadi Bödvarsson & Yakou Meite (7)
Stoke are missing midfielder Peter Etebo who received a red card in their victory over Derby in mid-week. Despite their relegation last season, the Potters managed to hold onto a strong roster of players, with the likes of Jack Butland, Saido Berahino and Joe Allen all staying at the club to help push for promotion. Ex-Royal loanee Benik Afobe returns to the Madejski as Stoke’s top scorer after failing to hit the net in his brief spell with the Royals in 2012.
Top goal scorer (all competitions): Benik Afobe (5)
Quick Fire Facts
- Stoke are winless in 13 matches against Reading away from home (D5 L8), but did beat the Royals in the last fixture between the two sides in Staffordshire in February 2013.
- Reading at the Mad Stad have picked up 10 points out of a possible 15 (P5 W3 D1 L1) in their last five games.
- Stoke manager Gary Rowett boasts an impressive record of never being on the losing side against Reading away from home (P4 W2 D2 L0).
- Stoke are currently on a six-match unbeaten run away from home in the league (W2 D4) - their longest since their Premier league days in 2010.
Reading face Stoke knowing this is their first test of a difficult month as they face opponents such as Sheffield United & Middlesbrough very soon! The Royals have managed to keep key players fit but have struggled score in the last two games. Stoke are in a good vein of form and have Premier League level quality players to call upon. I think this will be a tough test for the Royals but if the tactics are right I think they could keep Stoke at bay for most of the game.
Reading 1-1 Stoke City