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Relegation Watch: It All Goes Wrong For Reading

The Royals fell to a defeat and saw three of their rivals win at the weekend.

Millwall v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

I sincerely hope that this week’s Relegation Watch will be the most depressing of them all to write, because as the headline says, pretty much everything went against Reading in the latest round of fixtures. The Royals had earnt themselves a slight cushion with victory over Preston the previous weekend, but wins for Birmingham, Millwall and Rotherham on Saturday, combined with Wigan getting a draw, saw that swiftly taken away. Read on to find out exactly how we’ve found ourselves right back in trouble.

All odds are courtesy of SkyBet, and please gamble responsibility if you do fancy a flutter on which teams will go down (Judas betting or otherwise!).

The outside bets

Both sitting on 44 points (five above the relegation zone) with odds of 40/1 to go down, Birmingham City and QPR are still just about flirting with the idea of League One football. On Saturday, the two sides faced what was the Championship’s top two coming into the weekend, and claimed contrasting results.

The Blues defeated manager Garry Monk’s former club Leeds United 1-0, whilst the Fake Hoops, who sacked Steve McClaren last week, were thrashed 4-0 by Norwich City. It was a tenth defeat in 13 games for the west London side, a run they’ll try to rectify with what on paper are two winnable games in the next week - Millwall away and QPR at home. Birmingham meanwhile, host Sheffield United before travelling to rock bottom Ipswich.

19th - Wigan Athletic (41 points / -16 GD)

Bristol City v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images
  • Relegation odds: 7/1 (worse than last week)
  • Latest result: Bristol City 2-2 Wigan
  • Next games: Hull City (A), Norwich City (H)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 10th

Anthony Pilkington’s 93rd minute equaliser earned Wigan a 2-2 draw at Bristol City - their first point away from home for two months. The Latics had earlier led through a sublime 25-yard strike from Reece James, who was once again the star of the show. His quality and the team’s fighting spirit will be key to keeping them up, but they have two tough games up next - they travel to a Hull side with an excellent home record before hosting league leaders Norwich.

20th - Millwall (40 points / -13 GD)

One game in hand over other teams
  • Relegation odds: 10/1 (better than last week)
  • Latest result: Millwall 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
  • Next games: QPR (H), Sheffield United (A)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 11th

Result of the weekend has to go to Millwall, who defeated an in-form West Brom side 2-0 to claim their first league victory at The Den in 2019. It was a dominant display from Neil Harris’ team, who could have had five or six, but had to settle for Ryan Tunnicliffe’s low drive and an Ahmed Hegazi own goal to win them the three points. On paper, Millwall have the easiest run-in out of the teams down there, and also have a game in hand thanks to their FA Cup exploits.

21st - Reading (40 points / -17 GD)

  • Relegation odds: 9/4 (worse than last week)
  • Latest result: Hull City 3-1 Reading
  • Next games: Norwich City (A), Brentford (H)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 8th

Reading were six points clear of danger at one point on Saturday afternoon thanks to Lewis Baker’s early goal at Hull, but the Tigers scored three second half goals to leave us deep in trouble. Wednesday’s trip to Norwich, who are on a run of eight straight wins, is a daunting one, and if results go against us again, we could be in the bottom three by the weekend. It makes Brentford’s visit to the Madejski Stadium a must-win fixture.

22nd - Rotherham United (39 points / -25 GD)

  • Relegation odds: 4/5 (better than last week)
  • Latest result: Rotherham 2-1 Nottingham Forest
  • Next games: Aston Villa (H), Stoke City (A)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 10th

Rotherham hadn’t beaten Nottingham Forest since 1956 heading into the weekend, so it was quite the time to break that run with a 2-1 victory that lifted them to just a point from safety. Centre-back Michael Ihiekwe scored the winning goal with a header on the hour mark - his first Championship goal of the season - and the Millers held firm for the remainder of the contest. Quite the response to last weekend’s thrashing at Derby.

23rd - Bolton Wanderers (32 points / -37 GD)

  • Relegation odds: No odds available (they’ve been that bad)
  • Latest result: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Ipswich Town
  • Next games: Middlesborough (H), Derby County (A)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 10th

There were doubts all week about whether Bolton’s game with Ipswich would go ahead, and the Trotters probably wish that it hadn’t after they fell to a 2-1 defeat, only getting on the scoresheet courtesy of a consolation own goal in the 94th minute. Phil Parkinson has described the last seven days as his “darkest” in football, and it doesn’t get any easier as they host Middlesborough (admittedly struggling themselves of late) next before travelling to Derby.

24th - Ipswich Town (27 points / -33 GD)

  • Relegation odds: No odds available (they’ve been that bad)
  • Latest result: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Ipswich Town
  • Next games: Brentford (A), Birmingham City (H)
  • Average position of remaining opponents: 10th

Collin Quaner’s brace at the University of Bolton Stadium secured Ipswich a first win in 13 games, but the fact that that statistic exists is exactly why Paul Lambert’s side have been destined for League One for so long. They could be relegated as early as this Wednesday, but spirits remain high amongst the fanbase, with more 1400 supporters travelling to the North West at the weekend armed with inflatables and chanting ‘everything little thing is gonna be alright’.