Reading’s trip to Ipswich Town this weekend sees them play the second of three consecutive games against relegation rivals. After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Rotherham United at the Madejski Stadium last Saturday, they will look to gather some momentum going in to next week’s tie against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic.
Nine points currently separate the two sides, with Ipswich Town strong favourites to be relegated from the Championship.
The last five
Ipswich Town: LLDDD
Will Keane is a doubt for the home side after sustaining a left hamstring injury against Wigan Athletic last weekend, having to be substituted in the second half of that match. Paul Lambert is hopeful that the striker will be fit to play against Reading. Fullback Jonas Knudsen is suspended after his red card in the same fixture last week, with Grant Ward and Freddie Sears remaining on the sidelines whilst they recover from long term injuries.
Manager Paul Lambert is still banned from the dugout after his red card in the Norwich game at Carrow Road.
Ipswich Town have endured a torrid time since Mick McCarthy left the club. Their failure to win any of their last seven league games emphasises this. One cause for optimism among their fans will be their past three draws in difficult fixtures. Despite conceding a late equaliser to Wigan Athletic, they had led most of the game with ten men away from home after Jonas Knudsen was sent off. Their other recent draws included home deadlocks against promotion contenders Derby County and a technically gifted Stoke City.
Sone Aluko will be unavailable for the Royals after his move to Chinese side Beijing Renhe on loan for the rest of 2019. Jose Gomes has also said that Saeid Ezatolahi is unlikely to play for the Royals again this season after not being involved in first team training yet. Andy Rinomhota is still a doubt after sustaining a twisted ankle.
The away side this weekend have struggled to turn draws in to wins lately, something that they will want to start doing if they are to steer themselves away from the drop zone. Their 2-1 home win against Blackburn Rovers through Nelson Oliveira’s late goal could be vital in their battle against the drop.
10/11/2018: Reading 2-2 Ipswich Town
28/4/2018: Reading 0-4 Ipswich Town
16/12/2017: Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading
4/2/2017: Ipswich Town 2-2 Reading
9/9/2016: Reading 2-1 Ipswich Town
Yakou Meite’s brace in November 2018 against the Tractor Boys was not enough to stop the Royals dropping points that day. Reading were actually on course to lose that day before the Ivorian’s 84th minute equaliser.
The meeting before that 2-2 draw was a miserable 4-0 home defeat for Reading at the Madejski Stadium. They had the chance to secure their Championship survival that day against Ipswich and their caretaker boss but dragged themselves in a final day relegation fight with that awful home result.
Reading have only won one of their last five meetings against this weekend’s opponents. This victory was made up of a tale of three penalties. Danny Williams scored a last gasp spot kick that day to give the Royals all three points under Jaap Stam in September 2016.
- Unsurprisingly, Ipswich Town have the worst defensive record in the league conceding 57 goals this campaign. They have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 league games.
- The Tractor Boys have only won three league games all, with both being 1-0 home wins against fellow relegation rivals Wigan Athletic and Rotherham. Their away win came at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea.
- Five goals separate Reading and Rotherham United on goal difference going in to this game, with both sides being level on 30 points. Is it vital that Reading to keep it tight at the back on at Portman Road then?
- Reading have only 1 won in 17 away league games this season. The players will be looking to send the large travelling support away from Suffolk with a win.
I can’t help feeling that this match will start off as a cagey affair before bursting in to life in the second half. Both sides will be desperate to pick up maximum points to contribute towards their respective relegation fights.
While the home side are struggling for goals, the defence of the Royals is always prone to a mistake, which could be capitalised on. Flashes of Reading’s attacking play has been very promising, something which the Royals could take advantage of when meeting the leaky defence of Ipswich Town this weekend.
This is possibly the hardest prediction I’ve made this season because the game could be decided by a mistake or a piece of brilliant play. Either way, I think it will be a very close game, with plenty of goals. I predict a thrilling 2-2 draw at Portman Road between the two struggling sides.
Ipswich Town 2-2 Reading