Reading FC return to the Madjeski after a fantastic away win to Ipswich last weekend. Some 1,500 fans travelled to see the Royals snatch victory at the death and keep above that dreaded relegation dotted line. Now they face another relegation candidate, Wigan Athletic who only sit three points above them. A win for the hosts will see them leapfrog their opponents on goal difference!
Can Reading maintain their resurgence or will Wigan pull off another relegation escape?
Reading form: DWLDW
Nelson Olivera faces up to four weeks out after suffering a hamstring problem against Ipswich. The Portuguese striker scored a vital goal last weekend against the rivals of his former employers Norwich and now leaves a massive gap up front for the Royals.
As it stands, Yakou Meite is Reading’s only match fit senior striker with Jon Dadi Bödvarsson not in full match training. Danny Loader could start up front as Meite has been preferred as a winger by Gomes. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is a major injury concern for Jose Gomes after playing through the Ipswich game with an ankle problem - which didn’t stop him putting in a man of the match performance though!
He will be assessed right up to kick off with Sam Walker or Ansi Jakkola being prepared as his replacement. Sam Baldock, Bödvarsson, Saeid Ezatolahi, Andy Rinomhota and Jordan Obita all remain sidelined through injury.
A win for the Royals could see them go as high as 19th if results go their way! The Wigan game also looks to be one of the highest attended games of the season. The Club 1871 section in the South Stand will hold over 500 fans at the time of writing which is a great show of fan support coming into this must win game!
Top scorers (all competitions): Bödvarsson & Meite - 7
Wigan form: DDDDL
The Latics come to the Madjeski desperate for a win after four consecutive draws which ended with a 2-1 defeat to Frank Lampard’s Derby on Wednesday night. To add insult to injury, recent signing Danny Fox is now sidelined after suffering a knee injury on Wednesday. Fox’s absence could see ex-Manchester United forward Nick Powell return to the starting XI after an absence through illness.
The 2012 FA Cup winners have struggled to find any consistent winning form since a decent start to the campaign and have now been dragged into the relegation dogfight. The Latics were well known for their late relegation escapes in the Premier League so they aren’t a side you want to rule out too quickly.
Top scorers (all competitions): Joe Garner & Josh Windass - 5
Quick Fire Facts
- The Royals have not lost to Wigan in their last three encounters (W2 D1), all of which were clean sheets for Reading.
- However, Wigan had not been beaten at the Mad Stad in their last four trips prior to their 1-0 loss in April 2017.
- Reading are yet to win successive Championship games since December 2017.
- Wigan are currently on a 15-game winless away run since their 3-0 win against Stoke in August (D3 L12).
A major “six-pointer for both sides going into the final weeks of the season. The Royals have the better form coming into this game but have recently suffered major injuries to key players. Wigan are desperate to stop the rot of 15 games without a win. They will see this as a massive opportunity to change that. I can see this being a tight game so expect nervous tackles and long periods of mindless possession to edge a goal.
With the predicted high attendance for the home side, I can see the 12th man assisting the Royals on Saturday.