Reading face a trip to Yorkshire this Saturday as recently relegated Huddersfield Town host the Royals, who have now gone two league games unbeaten. Our slow start in this campaign has prevented us from reaching the top half yet, but hopefully the past two matches could be the start of something special.
Huddersfield Town have made a bad start to the season after their relegation from the Premier League. They have already sacked Jan Siewert and replaced him temporarily with Mark Hudson, while picking up just one draw out of their past four.
A clash between two sides in the bottom half could turn out to be a feisty affair, so who will come out of this game victorious? Here’s everything you need to know for this fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium.
What? Championship Matchday 5
Who? Huddersfield Town
Where? The John Smith’s Stadium
When? Saturday 24th August (3pm KO)
Huddersfield Town: LDLL
The Terriers have made a woeful start to the season after being relegated from the top flight at the end of the last campaign. They currently sit in the relegation zone with Luton Town and Stoke City either side of them in 23rd place. Will their new manager be able to get them off and running when he’s appointed? That remains to be seen.
Defeats against Derby County, Fulham and Cardiff City have left them in a vulnerable position, with their only point of the season coming against QPR at Loftus Road. Despite their poor start, one bonus for the club is that they currently don’t have any injury worries going in to Saturday’s home game.
Reading have had a mixed start to the season. However, things are looking up for the Royals, who took an impressive point away from The Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday. Their performance against Cardiff City last Sunday was even more promising and they will be looking to take this momentum to Yorkshire when they face another side that have been relegated recently from the Premier League in Huddersfield Town.
The club have also benefitted from a lack of injuries so far in the opening stages of this campaign, although they are a little short at left back with the injuries of Jordan Obita and Tyler Blackett. Even though they will probably return to the first team soon, with one of them replacing Richards, the young academy graduate has done very well so far this season. He could retain his place if he impresses Gomes enough between now and when the injured players return.
The last meeting
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Reading (4-3 pens)
This is probably the toughest section I’ll write this season. A penalty shoot-out defeat to Huddersfield Town in the playoff final in 2017 at Wembley was detrimental to the Royals in the long run, as the following two seasons resulted in relegation scraps.
Liam Moore and Jordan Obita’s penalty misses in the shoot-out proved costly as the Terriers won 4-3 on penalties. Michael Hefele was the only player who missed a spot kick for Huddersfield in the final, while Yann Kermorgant, Danny Williams and Liam Kelly all converted their penalties for Reading.
Everything was looking up for the club up until the playoff final defeat. Dai Yongge had just agreed a deal to take control of Reading, Yann Kermorgant was on fire and Ali Al-Habsi was winning us games with his superb saves.
The financial gain we would have experienced with winning promotion would have been so beneficial. Huddersfield Town’s stay in the Premier League was for two seasons which would have helped us massively if we’d managed it. The two sides face off for the first time since that final this weekend.
- Huddersfield Town have claimed just one point out of a possible 12 in the Championship so far.
- The Terriers haven’t won a single game in their past 14 league matches - in the Premier League and the Championship.
- Reading have conceded just one goal in their past two games while deploying three centre backs. Liam Moore, Michael Morrison and Matt Miazga have been solid as a trio so far.
- The Royals have scored in each of their past seven competitive away games. This record dates back to the 3-1 defeat at the KCOM Stadium last season against Hull City.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Morrison, Miazga, Yiadom, Pele, Swift, Ejaria, Joao, Puscas
Rafael has put in some great performances over the past few games and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t start against on Saturday at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A back five of Richards, Moore, Morrison, Miazga and Yiadom looks to be exactly how Reading will line up at the back for a long while, although this may change when Tyler Blackett and Jordan Obita return. However, they have all defended well as a unit this season when Gomes has deployed three central defenders.
Pele, Swift and Ejaria will probably remain as a trio in central midfield. Ejaria has been the stand-out performer in the centre of midfield and his goal against West Brom in midweek at The Hawthorns is just the tip of the iceburg. There isn’t even room in the starting eleven for Andy Rinomhota, who was brilliant for the Royals last season.
Although Lucas Boye played well against West Brom, Gomes may reinstate Lucas Joao in the starting lineup on Saturday to try and get as many goals as possible away from home. Joao and Puscas linked up very well against Cardiff City last Sunday - could this be the key to a great attacking performance this weekend?
Score prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
All Saturday 24th August (3pm KO) unless stated
Derby County vs West Bromwich Albion (12:30 KO)
Barnsley vs Luton Town
Blackburn Rovers vs Cardiff City
Charlton Athletic vs Brentford
Fulham vs Nottingham Forest
Hull City vs Bristol City
Middlesbrough vs Millwall
Preston North End vs Sheffield Wednesday
Queens Park Rangers vs Wigan Athletic
Stoke City vs Leeds United
Swansea City vs Birmingham City (Sunday 25th August 12pm KO)