A Reading team in wretched form travel to Ashton Gate this Saturday to face a Bristol City side who will be competing for a play-off spot once again this season. The Robins are looking for redemption this campaign after narrowly missing out on the top six last season. The competition for sixth place proved to be a step too far for them, with Derby County taking that spot and making it to the playoff final.
Three years as manager at one club is now a long time in football, and Lee Johnson has done well enough to provide that stability. He’s been backed over the summer with several new signings, something that could pay dividends in Bristol.
Meanwhile, Reading are looking to bounce back after their 4-1 home defeat hammering to Scott Parker’s Fulham.
What? Championship Matchday 11
Who? Bristol City
Where? Ashton Gate
When? Saturday 5th October 2019 (3pm KO)
Bristol City: DWDDD
Although they have played against very capable teams like Swansea City, Preston North End and Brentford recently, the Robins really need to turn draws in to wins if they are to compete for the playoffs once again this season. City are a very stable ship under Lee Johnson - if only we could keep a manager for the long term.
Tomas Kalas will definitely be missing this Saturday with a hamstring problem that’s kept him out for over a month. He’s likely to return to competitive action after the international break. Hungarian midfielder Adam Nagy may or may not play a part this weekend. If he does play a part against the Royals, it’s likely to be from the bench.
I almost broke my keyboard with the amount of Ls I’ve had to type. Is it the long-lasting effect of Ron Gourlay’s departure and the mess he left us in? Have the players not gelled together yet? One thing’s for certain: Jose Gomes and the coaching staff haven’t found their best starting eleven yet. I’m having one hell of a job trying to predict what Gomes will do next.
John Swift’s red card against Fulham in midweek means that he’ll miss this Saturday’s meeting in Bristol. This is a massive blow for the Royals, with the central midfielder being one of their best players this season. Pele could be the man to take his place temporarily in the centre of midfield. Matt Miazga could also make his return to league action after being rested in the past couple of games.
The last meeting
Bristol City 1-1 Reading
Reading took the lead shortly after half time through Yakou Meite with a wonderfully worked free kick that also involved Lewis Baker, Ovie Ejaria and Andy Rinomhota. A win would have all but confirmed survival in this April 2019 game, but they conceded an equaliser. Josh Brownhill managed to get on to the end of a cross to make it 1-1.
Bristol City needed a win in this match to boost their playoff hopes. However, they didn’t manage to get it and Reading were one point closer to survival. The home side will again be favourites to take the three points this weekend.
- Bristol City haven’t lost a Championship game in almost two months. Their last defeat was against Leeds United on the opening day (4th August). They remain unbeaten in their other nine Championship games.
- However, the Robins have conceded 13 goals in the league so far this season, a rate of over one per game. This is the same amount of goals that 18th placed Millwall have let in.
- Reading have lost just three times in 13 league meetings with Bristol City in this decade. This included the Royals winning seven consecutive league games against them between 2010 and 2017.
- Five games, four defeats and no clean sheets for Reading. This needs to change right now.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Blackett, Moore, Miazga, Yiadom, Pele, Rinomhota, Ejaria, Boye, Meite, Puscas
Apart from the fourth, I don’t think Rafael can really be blamed for the four goals that the Royals conceded at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday. One thing that’s for certain is that we need major changes if we are to get anything from the game this weekend.
Jordan Obita’s fitness is still questionable after going off injured against Swansea City last weekend, while Omar Richards may not be a suitable option if we’re going to continue playing four at the back. Tyler Blackett, who did reasonably well at left back in stages last season, could be a better option than the other two.
Matt Miazga has also been missed. His commanding presence at the back will be needed against a strong Bristol City side away from home. Captain Moore needs to step up if they’re to be an effective duo once again at the heart of defence.
John Swift’s suspension could see Pele and Andy Rinomhota play together, two defensive midfield options that may be needed to keep the score down on Saturday. This could allow Ovie Ejaria to focus primarily on getting forward to support the likes of Yakou Meite and George Puscas.
Having width gives us a different option going forward. Yakou Meite and Lucas Boye, who have both played as wingers many times across their careers, could be vital in both the defensive and attacking phase this Saturday. If they can support their fullbacks behind them, whilst providing good service to George Puscas, they could be the difference this weekend.
However, we’re far away from where we want to be at the moment. I think that’s an understatement. Bristol City are going be competing in the top half this season. Reading certainly won’t be if we fail to turn this around. I trust our defence to be tighter this weekend, but that won’t be enough to prevent defeat. Two first-half goals for Bristol City and a consolation for the away side in the second half. It feels like that type of game.
Score Prediction: Bristol City 2-1 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
All Saturday 5th October (3pm KO) unless stated
Birmingham City vs Middlesbrough (Friday 4th October 7:45pm KO)
Fulham vs Charlton Athletic (12:30pm KO)
Derby County vs Luton Town
Huddersfield Town vs Hull City
Millwall vs Leeds United
Nottingham Forest vs Brentford
Preston North End vs Barnsley
Queens Park Rangers vs Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday vs Wigan Athletic
Swansea City vs Stoke City
West Bromwich Albion vs Cardiff City