Reading will be hoping to take their momentum into this Saturday’s game when they face an unbeaten Charlton Athletic at the Madejski Stadium. The Addicks, who were promoted to the Championship via the playoffs in May, have made a great start to life in the second tier under Lee Bowyer and will want to win another three points this weekend.
Although Charlton have had their problems off the pitch in the past few years, the side have performed admirably in the league over the past couple of years. If any fans deserve back-to-back promotions, it will be those who have been loyal to Charlton Athletic over the past few years.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this clash this weekend at the Madejski Stadium.
What? Championship Matchday 6
Who? Charlton Athletic
Where? Madejski Stadium
When? Saturday 31st August (3pm KO)
Reading have been in great form recently under Jose Gomes and the feel-good factor is returning to Berkshire. Seven points out of nine against Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town? That’s a great return for a side who finished 20th last season. This will make it even more frustrating that the first two league games against Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City ended in defeat.
Matt Miazga’s injury will be a concern for Jose Gomes after the American hobbled off early on against Huddersfield Town last weekend. However, Jordan Obita’s return to the first team will be a huge boost to the team and Richards now has a fight on to keep his spot. One left back who will not be available is Tyler Blackett, who’s been ruled out until after the international break. Yakou Meite also returned from injury to score twice in midweek at Plymouth Argyle.
Charlton Athletic: WWDDW
The Addicks are unbeaten in their first five games of the league season so far. Wins against Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City and Brentford have kept the side near the top end of the Championship table. Although draws against Barnsley and Nottingham Forest aren’t as impressive results on paper, every point counts and it has allowed Charlton Athletic to continue to build momentum.
Beram Kayal and Lewis Page may be selected for this weekend’s tie after missing out against Brentford last Saturday. Chris Solly, who suffered a head injury, may also come back in to the first team squad. He was another player who missed out against Brentford. Attacking midfielder Erhun Oztumer could make an appearance after signing for Charlton from Bolton Wanderers earlier on in the month.
The last meeting
Charlton Athletic 3-4 Reading
Yaya Sanogo’s hat-trick for the home side wasn’t enough to prevent them from losing out to Reading in the last minute of the game in 2016. Yann Kermorgant’s double and Ola John’s cool finish put Reading 3-1 up at half time and looked to have given Brian McDermott’s side a rare win in the second half of the 2015/16 season. However, the then-Arsenal loanee Sanogo had other ideas in the second half.
A quick-fire double from the striker left the score at 3-3 and it appeared that Charlton were going to steal a point until stoppage time. Deniss Rakels was the man to grab the winner for Reading in front of the Reading fans. Jordan Obita’s cross eventually fell to the Latvian who converted cooly at The Valley to take three points away from London.
- The Royals have kept up their 100% record of scoring in every single league and cup match this season. Seven games have passed - will Reading notch again on Saturday and make it eight?
- Reading have scored ten goals in their previous four competitive fixtures.
- Charlton Athletic remain unbeaten in their last eight league games. However, that goes up to 11 if you include the playoffs, as the London side won all of those three games in May, defeating Doncaster Rovers (x2) and Sunderland.
- Despite being unbeaten in their five Championship league games so far, they have only kept a clean sheet in one of those matches.
If you’re at the game, keep an eye out for our column in the matchday programme. This week, Olly’s talking about Reading’s fine away form in recent weeks, off the back of good results at Wycombe Wanderers, West Brom, Huddersfield Town and Plymouth Argyle.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, McIntyre, Morrison, Moore, Yiadom, Pele, Swift, Ejaria, Joao, Puscas
Rafael will return in goal after Sam Walker’s appearance in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. It’s possible that Joao Virginia’s time at Reading may be coming to an end if he fails to make any more appearances any time soon.
Miazga’s injury was a worry for Reading fans until Tom McIntyre came on and put in a near-perfect performance for the Royals. Gomes may decide not to risk the American centre back this weekend even if he’s available. Other than that one change, the starting five in defence will probably be unchanged. Richards would feel aggrieved this weekend if he were dropped for Obita after some very good performances at left wing back so far this season.
In midfield, there’s still no room for Andy Rinomhota. Pele, John Swift and Ovie Ejaria have been a trio which have helped create and score the vital goals that have taken Reading up the table in the past few games. Ejaria has been one of the best players for Reading so far this season.
Up front, the George Puscas and Lucas Joao duo has been my preferred front two in the league since the 3-0 win against Cardiff City. The two summer arrivals could prove to be key for Reading this season in their quest to reach a finish in the top half of the table. One of the two could be the difference between the two sides this weekend. It’s likely to be a tight game.
Score prediction: Reading 1-0 Charlton Athletic
Other Championship fixtures
All Saturday 31st August (3pm KO) unless stated
Cardiff City vs Fulham (Friday 30th August 7:45pm KO)
Bristol City vs Middlesbrough (12:30pm)
Birmingham City vs Stoke City
Brentford vs Derby County
Leeds United vs Swansea City
Luton Town vs Huddersfield Town
Millwall vs Hull City
Nottingham Forest vs Preston North End
Sheffield Wednesday vs Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion vs Blackburn Rovers
Wigan Athletic vs Barnsley