The Royals travel to Loftus Road seeking Christmas cheer after Boxing Day’s 1-0 defeat away to Millwall. New manager Jose Gomes has said in his press conference this week that his Reading side “will recover and prepare changes” to cope with the hectic Christmas fixtures.
With games coming up against Swansea City on New Year’s Day and Manchester United in the FA Cup, it will certainly be a baptism of fire for the Portuguese coach! Can he rally his Reading side from their Boxing Day hangover, or will Reading end 2018 with a defeat?
Gomes faces a defence and midfield selection crisis coming into the game at Loftus Road due to injury and suspension. Leandro Bacuna and Tyler Blackett both picked up straight red cards against Millwall to leave the Royals with nine men on the day, while Liam Moore is a major doubt after aggravating his previous calf injury in the match. He will be assessed right up to kick off but is likely to miss out.
His previous replacement, Tom McIntyre, now faces five weeks out after having surgery on Friday to fix his fractured skull. We wish him a speedy recovery! This leaves Gabriel Osho and John O’Shea as the only fully fit first-team centre-backs! Chris Gunter and Tiago Ilori are also major doubts going into the game.
Top goalscorers: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yakou Meite - 7 (all competitions)
Rangers are also facing a small injury crisis with striker Tomer Hemed having picked up a hernia injury. The on-loan Brighton forward, once linked with Reading, now faces six weeks on the sidelines. Defenders Geoff Cameron and Angel Rangel are also sidelined through injury.
Therefore it is expected that Steve McClaren will name an unchanged side that beat Ipswich 3-0 on Boxing Day. The key players to watch for Rangers are Pawel Wszolek and Nahki Wells who are both in a rich vein of form, and are tied as QPR’s top goalscorer.
Top goalscorers: Nahki Wells and Pawel Wszolek - 6 (all competitions)
- QPR have beaten Reading in three of their last four games.
- However, Reading have avoided defeat at Loftus Road in 12 out of 15 matches in all competitions.
- The Royals are currently on an eight-game winless run. Their last away victory was on September 15 against Preston North End!
- QPR have scored in eight of their last nine games. They last failed to hit the target in their 1-0 defeat to Blackburn on November 3.
Both sides have major injury concerns coming into the game which will affect the balance of their squads. QPR though are currently on a high with recent results and hold home advantage.
Reading are still establishing Gomes’ style of play which could hand the hosts an advantage. However, the Royals will be desperate to get a result here to avoid being in the bottom three going into 2019.
QPR 1-1 Reading