After picking up four points from a possible six in the last week, Reading will be hoping to maintain their mini unbeaten run when they take the trip to South-East London side Charlton Athletic this Saturday.
Lee Bowyer’s Addicks are now in danger of being relegated back to the third tier after their playoff win last season - which would be a huge blow to the side who started the season off reasonably well. Can they be the side to break through the Royals’ defence after Mark Bowen’s side picked up two clean sheets in their last couple of Championship matches?
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this tie.
What? Championship Matchday 43
Who? Charlton Athletic
Where? The Valley
When? Saturday 11th July 2020 (12:30pm KO)
League Form Record
Although the 0-0 draw against Huddersfield Town in the week was a little drab, I can’t say I am too annoyed about the result. Another clean sheet can only help the likes of Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho to gain confidence, with the latter performing particularly well against the Terriers. Pele also played well yet again - and it’s a shame about our current financial situation - otherwise he would be at the top of our priority list in terms of recruitment when the season ends.
However, Matt Miazga is available again after serving his three-match suspension. That was a bizarre red card - and the extension of his loan means we may not have seen the last of the United States international in a Reading shirt. However, he’s unlikely to replace Michael Morrison or Tom McIntyre at the back, both of whom have been solid in the past couple of games.
Ovie Ejaria’s absence from the midweek game and Gabriel Osho’s knock will be a source of concern for the Royals - and Andy Yiadom is unlikely to feature again this season. Lucas Joao may return before the end of the campaign though - which could be a major boost for the Berkshire side.
Charlton Athletic: WWDLL
Charlton’s form post lockdown has mirrored their season overall – they started off well – but have regressed since. A 1-0 away win at Hull City in their first game since lockdown was very promising and they followed that up with another narrow win against Queens Park Rangers at home, before drawing away to a very good Cardiff City side.
However, their losses against Millwall and Brentford have put the Addicks in real danger of being relegated straight back to the third tier. Their agonising 2-1 defeat at Griffin Park in midweek must have been hard to take for Lee Bowyer’s side, after initially taking the lead in the eighth minute and holding on until the 75th minute.
Left-back Lewis Page is currently suffering with a groin injury and was the only absentee against Brentford as they made the trip across London. Other players who will not be competing on Saturday are Chris Solly and Lyle Taylor – both were released after their contracts expired. The latter even refused to play post-lockdown, which was frowned upon by many. Has this had a negative impact on morale?
The Last Meeting
Reading 0 – 2 Charlton Athletic
The home side started off promisingly in the first half – with George Puscas almost getting on the score sheet twice with an effort that hit the crossbar and then missing a one-on-one.
However, it was to be Charlton’s day and disaster struck for Tom McIntyre shortly after half time when Jonathan Leko’s shot around the box deflected off him and past Rafael in goal. Things went from bad to worse for the Royals when Liam Moore and Pele were involved in a tangle with Chuks Aneke and Jarred Gillett had no difficulty in awarding a penalty.
Lyle Taylor’s spot-kick in the 80th minute put the game beyond doubt – and this was to be the start of a slippery slope for Jose Gomes. It also proved to be the end of Charlton’s promising start.
- Charlton Athletic were unbeaten in their first six games of the league season and climbed up to second before their decline.
- After those six unbeaten league games, the Addicks only won three of their following 19 Championship games in 2019.
- In their last six league games against Charlton Athletic – Reading have won three and lost three.
- The Royals have won seven, drawn seven and lost seven of their 21 away league games so far this season – who knows what could happen this weekend!
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael; Blackett, McIntyre, Morrison, Gunter, Pele, Rinomhota, Swift, Olise, Meite, Puscas
Rafael will continue in goal once again, although it would be nice to see Coniah Boyce-Clarke on the bench for the final couple of games. Considering we now have five to use, he could even be given a go off the bench at some point. It would be a reward for him signing a new long-term deal at the club amid interest from top flight clubs.
Speaking of the future, at what point do we have to start thinking about dropping Tyler Blackett. In all fairness, he has done very well (with Morrison) alongside two academy graduates and has made himself almost undroppable at the moment. It would be interesting to see how Omar Richards fits in at left back alongside Tom McIntyre who is currently playing as the left centre back. Would there be too much inexperience on the left side? I’m not sure – but it would certainly be exciting.
However, Gabriel Osho could miss this game after picking up a knock in midweek. Mark Bowen is unlikely to risk him whether he is ready for this weekend’s tie or not, which is a shame as he played very well on Tuesday up until his injury.
Chris Gunter is likely to come on in his place, although it would be fascinating to see how Tennai Watson does. He never really seemed to impress out on loan despite his promising performances under Jaap Stam. His contract runs out in 2021 – but he could be one the Royals look to shift on in the next transfer window unless he does well in pre-season.
In the midfield, I think Bowen will shake things up once again and bring Michael Olise in to replace Jordan Obita on the left. After playing so well since lockdown, it must have been a tough decision to drop the young Frenchman – and it will only be a matter of time before he is included in the starting lineup.
Yakou Meite and George Puscas linked up well at Luton – and it’s so important that the duo are in sync this Saturday. It could be the difference between a loss or a draw, or a draw and a win. Amongst other things, it really does highlight how Lucas Joao could have been a very good option this weekend.
I can see this being a very close game, with Charlton Athletic fighting for their life to stay up. Luton Town were in the same position when we played them – but Lee Bowyer will be wary of the threat the Royals can pose and will look to tighten things up. I’m going for a 1-1 draw this weekend.
Score Prediction: Charlton Athletic 1 – 1 Reading
Other Championship fixtures
All fixtures Saturday 11th July (3pm KO) unless stated:
Huddersfield Town vs Luton Town (Friday 10th July 6pm KO)
Fulham vs Cardiff City (Friday 10th July 8:15pm KO)
Derby County vs Brentford (12:30pm KO)
Barnsley vs Wigan Athletic
Blackburn Rovers vs West Bromwich Albion
Hull City vs Millwall
Middlesbrough vs Bristol City
Preston North End vs Nottingham Forest
Queens Park Rangers vs Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City vs Birmingham City (Sunday 12th July 1:30pm KO)
Swansea City vs Leeds United (Sunday 12th July 1:30pm KO)