Steve Bruce will be looking to make it two wins out of two in his first home match at Hillsborough against relegation-threatened Reading. This contest will be seen as a good opportunity for Sheffield Wednesday to pick up another three points under their new boss to gather even more momentum. Reading though know that this is a game where they will need to pick up more points in their fight to survive Championship relegation.
The last five
Sheffield Wednesday: DDLWW
Josh Onomah faces another spell out on the sidelines after straining his hamstring, and is expected to be out for another few weeks. Meanwhile, Matt Penney is still recovering from an operation on a persistent shoulder issue. He is ruled out of matches until April while rehabilitating. Right back Dominic Iorfa could make his debut against the Royals after signing on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers on Deadline Day.
Two 1-0 wins against Wigan Athletic (H) and Ipswich Town (A) have given the Owls some league momentum going into this tie against the struggling Royals. This was a fantastic response by Wednesday after suffering a 3-0 away defeat to Hull City in the middle of January. Their fourth-round exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Chelsea will help them to focus on the league, to see if they can propel themselves up the table.
Nelson Oliveira is out of hospital after a clash with Tyrone Mings caused the Portuguese forward severe facial injuries. However, Mings has faced no further action by the FA. In other Reading injury news, Jordan Obita has had his third knee operation and is now on the long road to recovery, after being out since September 2017.
Otherwise, Sam Baldock, Saeid Ezatolahi and Anssi Jaakkola will definitely be out, while Ovie Ejaria and Garath McCleary are doubts through illness.
There has been much-needed optimism among the Reading fanbase after improved performances under Jose Gomes. However, their two successive draws against Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa have been seen as two points dropped in each game, when both games were arguably there for the taking. Let’s hope that no more points are dropped from last minute equalisers this season!
1/9/2018: Reading 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday
21/4/2018: Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Reading
26/1/2018: Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Reading (FA Cup)
25/11/2017: Reading 0-0 Sheffield Wednesday
17/3/2017: Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Reading
Overall, it’s been a miserable last few meetings for Reading when they have met Sheffield Wednesday. The Berkshire side’s loss against Wednesday in September left them on just two points in their first six Championship games of this season. At that point, I think all Royals fans accepted this was going to be a difficult season like the last campaign. Reading were in 23rd at that point, and aren’t doing too much better at the moment, sitting in 22nd inside the relegation zone.
The only three points that the Royals have taken from Sheffield Wednesday recently was in the 2016/17 season, when Yann Kermorgant and Adrian Popa served me up a special birthday treat! A great defensive performance combined with a killer instinct in front of goal allowed us to pick up the win that day - something that has been missing over the past 18 months.
- Sheffield Wednesday have conceded one more goal in the league than Reading this season, despite being six places above them.
- Sheffield Wednesday are the only side in the bottom ten of the Championship to have recorded ten wins in the league this season so far.
- Under Jose Gomes, Reading have managed to keep three clean sheets in his seven league games as manager. They had only kept two clean sheets in the 23 league games previous to Gomes’ appointment.
- However, the Royals have only scored five goals in their last five league games. This will need to improve if they want to avoid the drop.
The home team have appointed a very experienced Championship manager in Steve Bruce. If Wednesday still had a caretaker manager in charge, I would have predicted a narrow away win for Reading. However, Bruce knows this division inside out, and if the Royals are to win this game, they will need to put in a near perfect performance.
Reading have been slowly improving under Jose Gomes, and if the Royals can pick up another point, it might be enough to get themselves out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Rotherham United would however need to lose to Wigan Athletic at home in order for that to happen.
I predict a 1-1 draw between two sides who have the potential to be doing better than they are at this moment in time.
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Reading