Reading will be looking to start as they mean to go on in their first game since the international break, in what will be the last league meeting with Brentford at Griffin Park.
London Irish will move in to Brentford’s new stadium when it opens in 2020, which may come as a relief to us fans who want the Madejski Stadium pitch looking immaculate all year round. Is it time to call this match the London Irish derby?
Whatever we call it, this is another match that the Royals need to get points out of to extend the margin between themselves and the relegation zone. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick off in West London.
What? Championship Matchday 16
Where? Griffin Park
When? Saturday 23rd November 2019 (3pm KO)
Brentford have won four of their last five games against Millwall, Swansea City, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, with their most impressive victory coming at the Liberty Stadium. A 3-0 away win against high-flying Swansea City is no mean feat. However, with just three points separating them and 16th-placed Derby County, they will need to win this weekend to retain ninth place or even climb in to the playoff places. That’s how tight the league currently is.
Joel Valencia could return to first team action this month after dislocating his shoulder at the DW Stadium against Wigan Athletic in their last game. Meanwhile, Sergi Canos continues his recovery after sustaining a serious knee injury against Nottingham Forest in early October. Greek forward Nikos Karelis is also suffering with a severe knee issue and could be out for some time.
The Royals will be hoping for their first away win under Mark Bowen to keep this momentum that they currently have. We desperately need to have a comfortable mid-table finish this season to halt our decline and pick ourselves back up. Mark Bowen has done a good job so far, he just needs to sustain it. That will be his toughest job.
Forward Lucas Boye could feature for the Royals after rejoining first team training. He’s also had the benefit of the international break and a recent behind-closed-doors friendly to try and get back to full fitness. However, Charlie Adam and Lucas Joao are both a few games away from being available, while Jordan Obita is also out for the short term.
There may a be one possible departure in January already on the horizon. Joao Virginia could (and should) be recalled by Everton in the winter transfer window, with a clause in his contract giving the Premier League club the option to recall him. He’s a talented goalkeeper, but it’s probably best for all parties if he returns to Merseyside.
The last meeting
Reading 2-1 Brentford
Yakou Meite scored an early brace to secure a vital victory for the Royals over the Bees to move one step closer to Championship safety. Brentford got themselves back in the game through promising young striker Neil Maupay, who’s now unsurprisingly playing in the Premier League for Brighton and Hove Albion. A rare error from Emiliano Martinez gifted the young Frenchman the consolation shortly before half time, with the Royals facing a nervy second half.
However, they managed to close the game out and this narrow win at the Madejski Stadium in early April was vital in dragging the Royals away from the relegation zone. The Berkshire side didn’t actually confirm their safety until the penultimate game of the season against Middlesbrough.
Even then, they had to rely on West Bromwich Albion winning at home to Rotherham United for their safety to be confirmed. Let’s just hope the club doesn’t have to rely on other team’s results yet again in this campaign.
- Reading were in the relegation zone with just 12 points after 15 league games last season. They currently sit in 16th with 18 points at the same stage in this campaign.
- The Royals are unbeaten in four of their last five games against the Griffin Park side.
- Brentford have a good record away from home, winning over half of their away games this season (5/9).
- The Bees also have the joint second best defence in the league, conceding just 13 goals in 16 league games along with Nottingham Forest. Only Leeds United have a better record and have conceded just nine goals in the league so far this season.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Morrison, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Baldock, Puscas
Rafael has been a consistent starter for the Royals since he’s joined and it looks like that won’t change anytime soon. He’ll just need to keep an eye on that calf.
Picking the left wing back would have been the hardest prediction in this start eleven. Omar Richards was outstanding on against Luton Town, outstanding. The attacking contribution he made was brilliant. I feel that Mark Bowen would have opted for a more defensive option in Jordan Obita away from home against a top half Championship side, but his short-term injury means Richards will start. Andy Yiadom will retain his place in the side on the opposite flank. He was also very good against Luton.
Liam Moore, Matt Miazga and Michael Morrison will continue as a trio, providing they are all fit. Morrison has been a very good addition to the side - on a free transfer may I add. If they can continue to be solid, it will only help the Royals climb up the table.
I do feel sorry for Pele. He hasn’t particularly done anything wrong to be dropped since Mark Bowen’s appointment. Despite this, Andy Rinomhota, John Swift and Ovie Ejaria are proving to be an exciting, young and threatening force in the middle of the park. What do you think the combined value of these three would total up to? You would have to think at least £20m.
Sam Baldock and George Puscas will continue up front. The former could prove to be a very underrated player throughout the rest of this campaign, with his work rate and speed. Let’s hope Puscas can start firing again. I have a feeling he could be the scorer in this tie at Griffin Park at the weekend.
Score Prediction: Brentford 1-1 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
All Saturday 23rd November (3pm KO) unless stated
Fulham vs Queens Park Rangers (Friday 22nd November 7:45pm KO)
Charlton Athletic vs Cardiff City (12:30pm KO)
Blackburn Rovers vs Barnsley
Bristol City vs Nottingham Forest
Derby County vs Preston North End
Huddersfield Town vs Birmingham City
Luton Town vs Leeds United
Stoke City vs Wigan Athletic
Swansea City vs Millwall
West Bromwich Albion vs Sheffield Wednesday
Middlesbrough vs Hull City (Sunday 24th November 12pm KO)