It’s matchday! For the first time in just under three months, the Royals are in Championship action - this time against Sheffield Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium.
Both sides have recently been under a soft transfer embargo, which has limited both teams’ activity in the transfer market. However, the hosts have had a reasonably settled pre-season with Jose Gomes staying on the last campaign.
This is something that Sheffield Wednesday haven’t had with the departure of Steve Bruce to Newcastle United. Lee Bullen is set to take caretaker charge of the Owls this Saturday ahead of the first matchday of the 2019/20 Championship season.
What? Championship matchday 1
Who? Sheffield Wednesday
Where? Madejski Stadium
When? Saturday 3rd August 2019 (3pm KO)
Reading will be looking to get off to a good start this weekend after finishing just above the relegation zone for the second consecutive season in the last campaign. The additions of Joao Virginia, Michael Morrison, Charlie Adam and Matt Miazga have compensated for the four loan players who have not returned to the club this summer.
Emiliano Martinez is likely to be second choice goalkeeper at Arsenal in the upcoming, Lewis Baker has gone out on loan to Germany, Nelson Oliveira has joined AEK Athens while Ovie Ejaria’s future hangs in the balance. These aren’t the only players missing for the Royals. Left back Tyler Blackett will not feature on Saturday after picking up an injury against Chelsea, while Tom McIntyre is also unavailable and Jordan Obita continues his long-term recovery.
Lucas Boye could feature against Wednesday, but is more likely to be on the bench than in the starting XI. ye
Sheffield Wednesday: LDWDL
Steve Bruce’s departure to Newcastle United in the middle of pre-season was the last thing that Sheffield Wednesday needed. Lee Bullen will take charge of the Owls as caretaker boss - a role he’s performed before. Even though it’s important that the Owls find the right man, they will have been hoping that they would have had a new manager in place before this weekend to take charge against Reading.
Even though Sheffield Wednesday pulled off a consistently impressive set of results under Bruce, supporters will be excited at the prospect of playing a different brand of football under a new manager. Kieran Lee will be the player to watch on Saturday, signing a new one-year contract extension with the Sheffield side after an injury-plagued couple of seasons at Hillsborough.
The last meeting
Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Reading
This was quite a positive result for the Royals, who struggled to pick up points away from home last season. Although Lewis Baker went close a couple of times, we were also lucky not to concede a few goals either.
At that point in early February, Reading were still in the relegation zone and were trying to battle their way out of trouble. Looking back, it’s surprising how comfortably we escaped relegation in the end, after spending a lot of the campaign in the drop zone.
In all honesty, it just shows how important Jose Gomes and his signings have been for the club. Although there’s no guarantee that we’ll stay up in this upcoming season, Gomes has provided a lot of cause for optimism with his style of play and signings.
We'll be in the matchday programme with our regular column - this time talking about pre-season, the Chelsea game and the coming campaign.
You can pick up a copy around the ground for £3.
- Reading have failed to win any of their last five fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday.
- However, Reading have only lost once in their last six games in the league.
- Sheffield Wednesday only lost three of their eighteen league games under Steve Bruce - a tough record to beat for the new manager.
- Steven Fletcher was the Owls’ top goalscorer last season, with 11 goals to his name.
Likely Reading lineup (4-2-3-1): Virginia, Richards, Moore, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Barrett, Olise, Barrow, Meite
After a horror show by Sam Walker in the second half against Chelsea last Sunday, Everton loanee Joao Virginia is likely to start with Moore and Miazga in front of him. Richards will probably start in the absence of the injured Blackett, with Obita a while away from returning to full fitness.
Without signing another defensive midfielder, Swift is likely to start alongside Rinomhota with new signing Charlie Adam on the bench. This will give Michael Olise a chance to start in an advanced midfield role after impressing in pre-season. Meite could be the man to play up top for the Royals until another signing is made in that department.
Score Prediction: Reading 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Other Championship fixtures
All Saturday August 3 (3pm KO) unless stated
Luton Town vs Middlesbrough (Friday 2nd August 7:45pm KO)
Barnsley vs Fulham
Blackburn Rovers vs Charlton Athletic
Brentford vs Birmingham City
Millwall vs Preston North End
Stoke City vs Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City vs Hull City
Wigan Athletic vs Cardiff City
Nottingham Forest vs West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 3rd August 5:30pm KO)
Bristol City vs Leeds United (Sunday 4th August 4:30pm KO)
Huddersfield Town vs Derby County (Monday 5th August 7:45pm KO)