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Reading vs Birmingham City: Match Preview

It’s Portugal Day at the Mad Stad to close out the season.

Norwich City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The Championship has finally drawn to a close on what has been an eventful (and stressful) season for the Royals. Reading will be playing Championship football next term after Rotherham failed to beat West Brom last weekend.

José Gomes will be proud to have beaten the odds and critics to stay up, but the big test now is to build on the momentum and a squad capable of being challenging for the top half. He is due to be honoured with a Portugal-themed day at the Madejski Stadium for keeping Reading in the Championship.

Birmingham have also survived relegation despite their FFP points deduction. However, they come into this game on a good run of form and won’t be hitting the beach just yet. Can Reading end the season in style or will both teams be having one eye on the upcoming holiday and pre-season?


Reading

Form: DWDDL

John O’Shea is likely to feature after announcing his retirement earlier this week. The Manchester United legend has been carrying a slight injury but will hope to play one last game in a stellar career.

Yakou Meite and Nelson Oliveira are definitely ruled out with hamstring injuries picked up against West Brom. Mo Barrow will also be assessed after missing the trip to Middlesbrough but will likely start the match.

Jose Gomes could play youngsters Josh Barrett and Michael Olise to give valuable playing time to build on going into next season. Saied Ezatolahi could also make a late appearance after playing for the under-23s recently and appearing on the bench at the Riverside.

Top goalscorer: Yakou Meite (13)


Birmingham City

Form: WDDWD

Birmingham will be missing first-choice centre backs Harlee Dean and Michael Morrison who are both sidelined through injury. Their absences will be massive blows for Gary Monk’s side who are defending a six-game unbeaten run.

The Blues have no other major injuries but will be cautious on players getting injured just before pre-season preparation. They will also be hoping to end the season on a high after a difficult few months following their points deduction.

Top goalscorer: Che Adams (22)


Quick-fire facts

  • Birmingham are currently on a four-game unbeaten run at the Madejski (W3, D1) - all of which they have not conceded in.
  • Reading have not been defeated in a Sunday fixture since a 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough in 2011.
  • Only Norwich City and Aston Villa have bettered Birmingham’s unbeaten run this season (13 and 12).

Prediction

With safety confirmed, neither side is looking over their shoulder anxiously going into this game. This match has the vibe of a pre-season friendly where only pride is on the line. However, the home side will have a booming South Stand to give them a huge boost .

It should be a good game to bring in the under-23s and give a send-off to the departing loan players, before seeing what the future holds going into next season.

Reading 2-1 Birmingham