The last-gasp draw against Norwich City on Wednesday night showcased Reading’s desire to stay in the Championship after being put under severe pressure for most of the game by the league leaders.
Despite it being only a draw, it significantly boosted the Royals survival hopes after their rivals dropped points. Reading now enter the last five games that will define their season, with promotion-chasing West Brom, Middlesbrough and Bristol City all left to play this month.
Can Reading build on the highs of midweek or will Brentford be the survival party crashers?
Nelson Oliveira is set to return to the starting XI after being ineligible against his parent club Norwich in midweek. With his return, top goalscorer Yakou Meite is expected to be moved back to the wing.
The change might also be forced due to the fact that Mo Barrow is an injury doubt after aggravating his hamstring against Norwich. Captain Liam Moore also injured his shoulder in that game, and John Swift will be assessed again by the medical team after not travelling to Norwich or Hull City.
With the influx of injuries, Gomes could look to the academy to fill the spots of senior players. Tom McIntyre and Josh Barrett should be involved with the first team after not being selected to play for the under-23s on Friday night. However, Danny Loader played and scored in that match against Aston Villa, so won't line up against Brentford on Saturday.
Reading sit two points above the relegation zone, but level on points with both Millwall and Wigan. A win for the Royals would only see them gain one place if results go their way, but it could open a five-point gap to the bottom three with four games left to play after the weekend.
Top goalscorer: Yakou Meite (10)
The Bees will be missing goalkeeper Daniel Bentley who has been ruled for out for the season with a shoulder injury. His replacement Luke Daniels has been filling in since March 9 as the new number one keeper.
Bentley joins defender Yoann Barbet in the treatment room who is nursing an ankle injury. The other injury concern to report is midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo but he could be fit enough to make the squad.
The Bees sit comfortably in 14th place on 54 points, 11 from the top six and 15 from the bottom three. Therefore, they haven’t got anything to truly play for apart from building momentum for a play-off charge next season.
Top goalscore: Neal Maupay (25)
- The Royals have only recorded two wins in their last 11 games against Brentford (W2 D3 L6)
- The Bees see the Mad Stad as a happy hunting ground with them recording four wins in their last five trips to Berkshire
- Since Jose Gomes took over Reading, he has only lost at home twice (W4 D2 L2). Those defeats were against Leeds United in March and Swansea City in his first home match in charge, on New Year's Day.
The Royals' midweek boost at Carrow Road has certainly ignited survival belief among the players and supporters. With what is expected to be another bumper crowd, Reading have the morale advantage over midtable Brentford.
However, the Bees are a force to be reckoned with. While they may not have anything to play for themselves, Brentford have the power to determine who stays up in the Championship. Recent form has indicated however that they are not at their best which gives Reading a chance.
I can see this being a very edgy but entertaining game!
Reading 2-1 Brentford