Back-to-back wins for the first time in over a year is one of the big talking points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Derby County. Or the lack of them, I should probably add. That’s because by the time it comes round to the Royals' next match, it will have been 413 days since a comfortable 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light on December 2 2017, and most importantly the last time Reading last recorded a back-to-back win, having beaten Barnsley 3-0 in their previous outing.
It’s worth noting there has been only one other occasion where Reading managed consecutive victories since the start of the 2017/18 season and that, funnily enough, came against Nottingham Forest at home (3-1) then away to Derby a few days later (4-2). It would be a nice bit of symmetry should we win at Pride Park again on Saturday.
Though if that fortunate coincidence has got you a bit more confident, then maybe it’s worth noting that it may not be ‘mere coincidence’. After all, we always beat Derby away... don’t we? Or is it just me? It does seem like we have a pretty fantastic record at Pride Park in recent years, a bit of anomaly, especially when you consider the decline and fall of the Royals in the last five to six years and the rise of Derby as a top force in the Championship.
You have last season’s win obviously, then that famous 3-0 trolling on the final day of 2014/15, and going further back there's Shane Long’s double in a 2-1 win in December 2010.
So just how good are Reading at Derby? Well, ‘THE BEST’ as it turns out.
That’s right, I’ve crunched the numbers and gone back through every current Championship team’s record in their last 10 league matches away to Derby County, and no team has amassed more points out of a possible 30 than Reading - who have 22 points in total. That’s seven wins, one draw and two defeats, going back to winning 4-0 on ‘Relegation Day 2008’.
Some teams' records go back to the 1960s, and others to 2010 depending on how regularly they’ve played one another over the years (only Wigan have played fewer than 10 league games away to Derby – a total of eight).
What’s more, Reading blow almost every other team out of the water in terms of points won at Pride Park in their last 10 meetings. Only Ipswich, a close second on 21 points, come close (very close – so much so I thought they’d ruined two hours of research when I checked their record last, and they nearly gave me a mini-stroke).
The average for all 22 teams competing in this season's Championship is just shy of nine points. Not only do we have a good away record at Derby, we have it at arguably one of the toughest fortresses in the Championship over recent years. As far as freak anomalies in the footballing world, this has to be right up there, especially due to the dominance of Reading’s points totals over their league rivals. In fact, should we lose our next two matches at Pride Park, we’ll only drop as low as second in the overall ranking, no matter other teams' results.
So it’s nice to know that Derby fans will be thinking, ‘great, Reading again’ ahead of this Saturday. That can’t really happen at too many other grounds around the country. It may be an odd feeling, but lap it up while you still can.
Wait a minute, prove it I hear some of you say. “You could be making this all up!” Well it wouldn’t be fitting in this week of all weeks if I hadn’t provided a Marcelo Bielsa-esque evidence file to shove down your throats on Derby County stats. So, if you’re desperate to read through all 23 teams’ record in their last 10 games away to Derby, at least to validate what seems like my life’s work then click here to see the full list. We’ll probably lose after all that now won’t we?