Madejski Stadium, 8:00pm KO
Reading have been handed the privilege of kicking off the 2018/19 season as they welcome Frank Lampard’s Derby County (get ready to hear that term a lot this season) to the Madejski Stadium. Expectations of the Royals are at an all-time low, but maybe – just maybe – we could be in for a surprise this evening.
Form (league): N/A
Liam Moore will be conspicuous in his absence this evening, while injuries for Chris Gunter, John O’Shea and Jordan Obita, combined with a suspension for Tyler Blackett, means the back four picks itself.
Sam Baldock is not yet match fit and will likely be limited to a place on the bench, while Marc McNulty will hope to get the nod over Yakou Meite and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson up top.
Garath McCleary and Callum Harriott are both long-term absentees, while Dave Edwards and Leandro Bacuna both picked up injuries in pre-season and will play no part here. David Meyler will make his debut in behind Liam Kelly and John Swift in midfield.
Form (league): N/A
The Rams are one of the pre-season favourites for promotion this season and with good reason. Exciting attacking quartet Mason Mount, Harry Wilson, Florian Jozefzoon and Jack Marriott are all expected to make their debuts this evening.
There’s little in the way of injury concern for the visitors too, so expect a familiar defence and midfield from today’s opposition.
Derby County: 12
Reading have an outstanding record against Derby both recently and historically and the last meeting between the two sides was a six-goal thriller at the back end of last season. That said, the two clubs have gone in two completely different directions since then, with Derby looking towards the top two and Reading staring down the barrel of a potential relegation dogfight.
Paul Clement will have his side drilled but pre-season results and Liam Moore’s absence have the warning lights flashing. 1-3.