Reading and Nottingham Forest meet for the second time in two weeks as the sides play out a match that was postponed back in late October of last year.
The home side are currently enjoying a good spell of form in the Championship and this run will continue if they overcome 16th-placed Reading, who have also been in great form up until last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Millwall. Mark Bowen will need to work wonders if he’s to avoid another defeat on the road.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the City Ground this Wednesday.
What? Championship Matchday 28
Who? Nottingham Forest
Where? City Ground
When? Wednesday 22nd January 2020 (7:45pm KO)
Nottingham Forest: WWWDW
If the home side win this Wednesday, they could reach as high as third and go within two points of Leeds United in the automatic promotion places. This would all depend on how Fulham get on at Charlton Athletic at The Valley. Forest have a game in hand over the vast majority of other sides in the division and a win would really consolidate their place in the playoff spots. They are currently just three points above Millwall in seventh place.
Tendayi Darikwa is the only known absentee for Forest going in to this midweek game, with the 28-year-old fullback rupturing his Anterior Cruciate Ligament just before the new campaign. However, Darikwa is aiming to return before the end of the new season, as the club aim to finish in the playoff places under Sabri Lamouchi.
A really disappointing performance in Bermondsey last weekend against Millwall ended what was a brilliant run for the Royals. Lucas Joao’s injury is going to be a big blow and Reading may feel the effects of this absentee if they don’t decide to go in to the market for a striker. A loan deal until the end of the season would be the perfect move for a side that already has Yakou Meite, George Puscas, Sam Baldock and Joao as options for next season.
He’s expected to be out for at least two months, which is a huge shame as he was in good form at the time he sustained the injury. However, Andy Yiadom is due back from injury soon, although he may find it hard to displace Chris Gunter who’s been in good form. For a man who was exiled at the start of the season and has rarely played over the last year or two, he’s done very well.
The last meeting
Reading 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Late drama at the Madejski Stadium under two weeks ago ensured that both sides would share the spoils in this game.
Ben Watson’s left-footed volley from a corner was thought to be a 96th minute winner for the away side, who were on course to claim their fourth consecutive Championship victory. However, Reading were not going to go down without a fight. Tyler Blackett’s measured long ball from kick off found its way to Jordan Obita, who controlled it before putting a brilliant low ball in to the box. Tobias Figueiredo could only get a toe to the ball which squirmed past Bruce Samba in the Nottingham Forest goal.
This goal was vital for a Reading side that desperately wanted to maintain their long unbeaten run in the Championship (only for the Royals lose the unbeaten streak the following weekend). Let’s hope for similar drama this midweek – hopefully the Royals will be on the right side of the scoreline.
- Nottingham Forest have won over 50% of their home games so far this season (7/13).
- Forest are unbeaten in their last five Championship games. This run stretches back to Boxing Day.
- Reading are unbeaten in six of their last eight games against Nottingham Forest. Can they improve this record further on Tuesday?
- The Royals have won just four of their fourteen away games so far this season. This is less than impressive for a side that was aiming to finish in the top half of the table at the start of this season.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Obita, Moore, Morrison, Gunter, Swift, Pele, Adam, Ejaria, Baldock, Meite
With no signings in the transfer window as of yet, Reading are likely to start a similar side that suffered a 2-0 defeat against Millwall at the weekend. Rafael has been a safe pair of hands in goal, whilst Liam Moore and Michael Morrison have formed a commanding partnership in the heart of defence. Jordan Obita may be phased in to the first eleven if Tyler Blackett does not put pen to paper on a new deal soon, whilst Chris Gunter will retain his spot in Andy Yiadom’s absence.
Andy Rinomhota could also be a player that’s introduced back in to the starting eleven very soon, although it’s unlikely that Pele will make way for the academy graduate. The AS Monaco loanee has been performing very well in central midfield for the Royals recently. Veteran Charlie Adam has also played an impressive amount of games in a short amount of time, is it time for the midfielder to be given a well-deserved rest from league football?
Up front, Sam Baldock and Yakou Meite are likely to start again. George Puscas didn’t perform well against Millwall and could be used as a super sub if Reading need a goal late on this Wednesday. Lucas Boye is also another option for the Berkshire side, who netted against Blackpool in the FA Cup third round replay. However, he did not feature in the matchday squad at the weekend.
I’m going for a narrow 1-0 defeat this Wednesday. Where are the goals going to come from if we do not make any signings in this January window?
Score prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
Tuesday 21st January (All 7:45pm KO):
Barnsley vs Preston North End
Middlesbrough vs Birmingham City
Wednesday 22nd January (7:45pm KO):
Charlton Athletic vs Fulham