A midweek trip to the Midlands awaits Reading who will be looking to gain momentum going in to their fixture against Huddersfield Town at the weekend.
Their opponents, West Bromwich Albion, are unbeaten in their three league games so far this season under Slaven Bilic. Two victories away will give the Baggies the confidence that they can overcome the Royals, despite only drawing against Millwall in their only home match in this campaign as of yet.
Meanwhile, Reading’s win against Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City side was their first win of the season, after two disappointing defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City. This was an impressive 3-0 score line which will give them the confidence that they can take something out of this midweek game. Let’s see if they can do it.
What? Championship Matchday 4
Who? West Bromwich Albion
Where? The Hawthorns
When? Wednesday 21st August (8pm KO)
West Brom: WDW
Wins against Nottingham Forest and Luton Town will give West Brom a lot of confidence ahead of this game at the Hawthorns. Two goals from Grady Diangana against Luton Town in the second half last weekend at Kenilworth Road secured a 2-1 win, while two errors from Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Arijanet Muric gave West Brom another 2-1 victory in this campaign. Kyle Edwards and Matt Phillips were the scorers who capitalised from those errors at the City Ground on the opening day.
Former Reading forward Hal Robson-Kanu could return to the matchday squad for the Baggies after the Welshman missed Saturday’s trip to Kenilworth Road with a back spasm. However, Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi is likely to be out until the international break which will be a blow for manager Slaven Bilic. Can they keep their first clean sheet of the season this Wednesday without him?
The win against Cardiff City on Sunday will be a huge boost for Reading, who had a good week with their penalty shoot-out victory over Wycombe Wanderers last Tuesday as well. Danny Loader’s winning penalty against the Buckinghamshire side in the Carabao Cup will have given the 18 year-old a boost, after having his move to Wolverhampton Wanderers cancelled at the last minute.
In terms of the Cardiff game, George Puscas’ brace made it three goals in two games for the Romanian, who had already scored against Wycombe. The team will take confidence from their complete performance against the Bluebirds - keeping a clean sheet and scoring three goals was exactly what the doctor ordered, having lost their previous two games before their meeting with the recently relegated side.
Jordan Obita and Tyler Blackett remain sidelined for now, with Obita closing in on a return to the first-team squad.
The last meeting
Reading 0-0 West Brom
This was a good point for both sides who were at different ends of the table in this April fixture, and the away side managed to secure their place in the playoffs. Emi Martinez made a few smart saves for the home side, while Lewis Baker went close for Reading with a free kick in the second half. For Reading, this was another point closer to Championship safety in a torrid 2018/19 campaign for the Berkshire side.
James Shan was West Brom’s manager at the time and needed all the points he could get towards the end of the season to brush off the threat of Aston Villa stealing fourth spot ahead of them. Losing fourth spot would have meant that they lost the home advantage in the second leg of the playoff semi-final. This didn’t matter in the end, as Villa won at The Hawthorns to prevent West Brom from reaching the final at Wembley.
- West Brom had the second best attacking record in the league last season, scoring 87 goals in 46 league games. Only Championship winners Norwich beat that tally.
- The Baggies also lost just four league games at home last season out of a possible 23.
- Reading only won two away games last season, against Preston North End (3-2) and Ipswich Town (2-1). Will the record of only one Championship away win under Jose Gomes change this week?
- Reading have also won just one of their past six league games against West Brom. A remarkable 3-2 home win at the Madejski Stadium in the Premier League was their sole victory.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Morrison, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Joao, Puscas
After spending none of his pre-season at Reading, Pele might be the only player who’s dropped for the trip to The Hawthorns in midweek after playing against Hull, Wycombe and Cardiff in the last couple of weeks. Other than that, why change a winning team further? Rafael should retain his spot in goal after looking far more confidence and assured than Joao Virginia.
Richards is almost certain to start again. That left wing-back spot looks like it’s made for him - will Obita have trouble getting back into the side? Moore, Morrison and Miazga helped Reading their first clean sheet of the season on Sunday and are likely to stay as a back three away at a very good side.
Rinomhota may start alongside Swift in midfield to give Pele a rest, with Ejaria in front of the midfield pair. He looks to be a bargain for the Royals and it’s great that we have the obligation to secure him as a permanent signing next summer. Puscas and Joao are likely to start up front again and will look to cause problems to more Championship defences as a duo throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
Score prediction: West Brom 2-1 Reading
Other Championship fixtures on Wednesday
(All 7:45pm KOs)
Cardiff City vs Huddersfield Town
Charlton Athletic vs Nottingham Forest
Fulham vs Millwall
Leeds United vs Brentford
Preston North End vs Stoke City
Queens Park Rangers vs Swansea City