Mark Bowen will be looking for back-to-back victories in his second game as Reading manager on Tuesday, when the Royals head into London to face Queens Park Rangers. Despite Mark Warburton’s leaky defence, QPR have climbed up to fifth place in the league. This is a fantastic achievement considering the lower-mid-table position that the London side have found themselves in over the past few seasons.
Just one place separated the two sides last season - will it be another tight clash between the hoops? Here are the facts and stats you need to know ahead of this match, which will be televised on Sky Sports.
What? Championship Matchday 13
Who? Queens Park Rangers
Where? Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
When? Tuesday 22nd October 2019 (7:45pm KO)
Queens Park Rangers: WLLWW
All three of QPR’s matches this month have seen the goals fly in. A 3-0 defeat to Cardiff City was a setback for Warburton’s side, although two consecutive wins in their last couple of games meant QPR climbed back up into the playoff spots. A 4-2 home win against Blackburn Rovers and a 3-2 victory away from home at Hull City is a warning to Reading. The Royals will need to be defensively solid once again on Tuesday if they are to get anything. Despite this, they will be encouraged that QPR are liable to concede goals.
According to West London Sport, Luke Amos, Grant Hall and Matt Smith were all deemed fit to be involved against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium last weekend. Although Amos was the only player to feature in the matchday 18 in Hull, all three could potentially play a part in this midweek game against the Royals.
The stoppage-time winner against Preston North End secured three precious points for a Reading side who are currently suffering from relegation-worthy form. A clean sheet was also very important and exactly what Mark Bowen needed in his first game as manager.
Lucas Joao faces up to six weeks out with a foot injury - a major blow for the Royals who need all the attacking firepower that they can get to climb up the Championship table. Lucas Boye is also out for three or four weeks with a groin injury, leaving Reading short in the attacking department. However, Michael Morrison may start on Tuesday after suffering a minor head injury at the weekend. Andy Rinomhota could also come in after missing the Preston game through illness.
The last meeting
Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Reading
Only five players who started in this December 2018 tie are still frequently involved in the first-team setup. I remember this match being the first promising game under Jose Gomes, going in to the January transfer window. After a disappointing defeat in his first game at Millwall, this was a much-needed boost for Gomes, with the appointment being questioned across the Reading fanbase.
Although QPR hit the woodwork multiple times, John Swift shone for Reading, while goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola also made a couple of smart stops to keep the scores level. The result gave the Royals a good platform to go on and get out of the relegation zone. At the time, the club were 23rd.
Reading started that match with this lineup: Jaakkola; Yiadom, Ilori, O’Shea, Richards; Rinomhota, Swift; Barrow, Aluko, McCleary, Meite
- QPR have yet to keep a clean sheet in their 12 league games so far in this campaign. Reading will fancy their chances of scoring on Tuesday.
- The London side are 22nd in the league for their defensive record in the 2019-20 season, conceding 21 goals.
- Reading have won just one of their last five games against QPR.
- The Royals have kept just one clean sheet in their six away games this season.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Morrison, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Baldock, Puscas
After playing five at the back in his first win on Saturday, Bowen is unlikely to change this formation away from home. Rafael, who has been a reliable figure in goal this season, is likely to start.
Omar Richards could come in for Jordan Obita, who may need a rest after his return from a long-term injury. Richards has played very well in some games so far this season and could play a large part in the first-team squad for the rest of the season. Although Michael Morrison suffered a head injury on Saturday, he may start again on Tuesday ahead of the likes of Tyler Blackett and Tom McIntyre. Andy Yiadom is also likely to keep his place ahead of Chris Gunter, who’s now back involved with the first-team setup.
Andy Rinomhota missed out on Saturday through illness and could come in for Pele this Tuesday. Although Pele did play well at the weekend, Bowen may opt for the fresher legs of Rinomhota. John Swift and Ovie Ejaria are almost certain to retain their place, being the creative options that the likes of Sam Baldock and George Puscas will need.
Sam Baldock could well come in to the starting lineup at the expense of Yakou Meite, who may drop to the bench this midweek. The former Brighton and Hove Albion striker came on and made a very good impact against Preston North End. A start against QPR could help to revive his Reading career, after reportedly being transfer-listed in the summer.
This is a game which is impossible to predict. Although QPR will be the favourites to take all three points this Tuesday with their home advantage and superior league position, Reading could get something out of this game if they keep things tight at the back.
Score prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
All Tuesday 22nd October (7:45pm KO) unless otherwise stated
Birmingham City vs Blackburn Rovers
Millwall vs Cardiff City
Preston North End vs Leeds United
Sheffield Wednesday vs Stoke City
Swansea City vs Brentford
West Bromwich Albion vs Barnsley (8pm KO)
All Wednesday 23rd October (7:45pm KO)
Bristol City vs Charlton Athletic
Derby County vs Wigan Athletic
Fulham vs Luton Town
Huddersfield Town vs Middlesbrough
Nottingham Forest vs Hull City