A six pointer at The Den awaits Jose Gomes in his first game in charge of the Royals. Not an easy start by any means, but it’s a chance for the players to impress the new boss in a crucial game. Millwall’s Neil Harris will be feeling the pressure after dropping in to the bottom three, he will need to start winning games to secure his job.
The last five
With no wins since October 27, it has been a miserable couple of months for The Lions. Their last clean sheet came on the same day, with their 3-0 win over Ipswich Town. Since then, Millwall have conceded 16 goals in their last eight games, letting in an average of two goals per game. This was not helped by their 4-3 defeat to Norwich City in a thriller in the middle of November. Their narrow defeat to Stoke City on Saturday consigned the London side to their third defeat in five games.
Both Tom Bradshaw and Shaun Williams missed the match at the Bet365 stadium through injury. Williams is unlikely to the available for the Lions until at least the new year, but Jiri Skalak could return to feature after missing the past couple of games through illness. Jem Karacan could play against his former side, with the Turkish midfielder playing over half an hour in their loss at Stoke on Saturday.
The Royals, under the caretaker guidance of Scott Marshall, only managed to pick up one point out of a possible nine, a record which has not helped in steering the club away from the relegation zone. Scoring just one goal out of those three games in total has left the team short of confidence in front of goal.
It was a surprise they failed to score against Middlesbrough on Saturday, considering Josh Sims, Mo Barrow, Sam Baldock and Danny Loader all started. This was with Andy Rinomhota just behind them.
John O’Shea made the bench on Saturday and may feature from the start on Boxing Day if Jose Gomes favours experience over youth on this occasion. Liam Moore and Saeid Ezatolahi will be looking to get back to fitness as soon as possible to play a key part in rescuing the Royals from the jaws of relegation.
20/10/2018: Reading 3-1 Millwall
3/2/2018: Reading 0-2 Millwall
26/9/2017: Millwall 2-1 Reading
22/8/2017: Reading 3-1 Millwall (Carabao Cup)
27/1/2015: Millwall 0-0 Reading
A vital 3-1 win at the Madejski Stadium just over two months ago pulled the Royals to the dizzy heights of 19th! A Yakou Meite brace either side of Sam Baldock’s penalty on the stroke of half time secured the win for Reading that day.
Other memorable wins for the Royals against Millwall include the victory in August 2017 in the Carabao Cup. Great strikes from Leandro Bacuna in the first half and George Evans in extra-time provided the platform for Reading to go on to win the game, before Sam Smith netted his first senior goal near the end.
One infamous game against the Lions came in September 2017 when the Royals surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at The Den, with Dave Edwards scoring and having a late penalty appeal turned down.
- The Royals started no fewer than four academy graduates on Saturday (Omar Richards, Gabriel Osho, Andy Rinomhota and Danny Loader). Will they field a similar number on Boxing Day?
- Reading have won just one of their last ten league matches.
- Both sides have an identical results record in the Championship this season (W4, D7, L12).
- Millwall have the second leakiest defence in the Championship, conceding 39 goals this campaign. Only Sheffield Wednesday have conceded more (40).
This is probably the hardest prediction I have made all season. It could go either way and whilst I don’t want to sit on the fence, I couldn’t possibly pick a winner out of these two. Both teams seem incapable of keeping a clean sheet, and I think there will be goals in this match. Based on this, I have to go for a 1-1 draw in this crucial game, fingers crossed for a win for the Royals.
Millwall 1-1 Reading