Two consecutive losses against two very good top-half sides has put Mark Bowen’s side on the backfoot as the Championship heads in to a busy Christmas period.
Wigan Athletic are another side who have struggled in the Championship in the past couple of seasons, with Paul Cook’s team currently in a major relegation scrap along with the Royals. Neither side will want to drop points this weekend as they both look to climb their way up the second tier table.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s trip to Greater Manchester.
Important Match Information:
What? Championship Matchday 18
Who? Wigan Athletic
Where? DW Stadium
When? Saturday 30th November 2019 (3pm KO)
League Form Record:
Wigan Athletic: DLLLD
The Latics are currently struggling for form under manager Paul Cook and supporters will be hoping that their home advantage will pay dividends on Saturday. Picking up two points from a possible 15 is relegation form, there’s no way to sugar coat it. In all fairness, having a central defender as your top league goalscorer is never a good sign and that’s what the Latics currently have. Chey Dunkley has scored five league goals so far in this campaign, including braces against Charlton Athletic and Bristol City.
Defender Danny Fox is set to remain on the sidelines until the New Year after having surgery on a groin problem. Joe Williams and Lee Evans are also expected to miss this weekend’s tie against Reading with hamstring and calf injuries, respectively. However, Charlie Mulgrew is set to start again, playing the past couple of games against Stoke City and Millwall after suffering injury problems before the international break.
This is a key game for the Royals. After losing their past two games, Reading need to gain some confidence and momentum at the weekend with a win at the DW Stadium. As we head into the Christmas period, the busy schedule that the Royals have could give them the chance to pick up points and drag themselves away from the relegation zone.
Andy Yiadom is back from suspension after serving his one-match ban in midweek against Leeds United. He will be fighting Chris Gunter for his spot in the team. Jordan Obita is expected to be in the matchday squad for this weekend’s trip, whilst Lucas Joao could return to the first-team squad for the first time since he sustained his foot injury. Sam Baldock has a 50 per cent chance of returning after suffering a hamstring injury, although the Royals may not rush him.
The Last Meeting: Reading 3–2 Wigan Athletic
Nick Powell notched the opener after placing a Michael Jacobs cross beyond the reach of Emiliano Martinez and into the back of the Reading net. John Swift’s free-kick into the top right hand corner levelled the scores in first-half stoppage time, before Joe Garner was left unmarked to slot in from close range.
Then the turning point of Reading’s season came. Wigan’s lack of alertness allowed Mo Barrow to drive an unstoppable shot past Jamie Jones in the 89th minute, which looked to have rescued a point for the Royals. However, the Berkshire side weren’t done there. Yakou Meite converted a Callum Harriott corner in the seventh minute of stoppage time to send home fans into pandemonium at the Madejski Stadium.
This result allowed Reading to leapfrog Wigan in the table up in to 19th place, in a March fixture which proved to be vital for the home side.
- All of Wigan’s league wins (4) have come at the DW Stadium. A chance for the home side to capitalise on this on Saturday?
- However, the Latics have the joint-worst attacking record in the league, scoring at a rate of less than a goal per game (16 goals in 18 matches).
- Reading remain unbeaten in their last four games against the Greater Manchester side.
- The Royals have won 10 points out of a possible 18 under Mark Bowen.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Yiadom, Moore, Morrison, Miazga, Richards, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Meite, Puscas
Although Jordan Obita is likely to return to the squad in time for this weekend, Omar Richards could start again to allow Obita to ease himself back into full action. On the other side, Andy Yiadom could win back his place at right full-back after serving his ban in midweek against Leeds. Will it be Gunter or Yiadom to start at the DW Stadium?
The duo of Yakou Meite and George Puscas didn’t seem to work on midweek, with both players being subbed off for Danny Loader and Lucas Boye. The latter could start this weekend, the Romanian or Meite dropping to the bench.
Puscas could be the one to drop out after missing an array of chances throughout this season. He really needs to kickstart his season sooner rather than later if Reading fans are to remain patient with him.
Although Wigan may have the home advantage and have done reasonably well at home this season despite their league position, I can’t help but feel that Reading have the better players and will come away from Manchester with all three points. I guess that’s the complacency that’s put us in the current decline we’ve been in over the past couple of seasons.
I trust Ovie Ejaria to provide us with a little bit of magic on Saturday and also fancy him to score? I predict a 2-0 win this weekend.
Score Prediction: Wigan Athletic 0–2 Reading
Other Championship fixtures:
All Saturday 30th November (3pm KO) unless stated
Swansea City vs Fulham (Friday 29th November 7:45pm KO)
Charlton Athletic vs Sheffield Wednesday
Barnsley vs Hull City
Birmingham City vs Millwall
Brentford vs Luton Town
Bristol City vs Huddersfield Town
Derby County vs Queens Park Rangers
Leeds United vs Middlesbrough
Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City
Stoke City vs Blackburn Rovers
Preston North End vs West Bromwich Albion (Monday 1st December 7:45pm KO)