After a brilliant 5-0 away win at Luton Town last weekend, Reading return to the Madejski Stadium this midweek to face relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town.
The win on Saturday was a major surprise to all of us – especially after the Brentford loss last week. To keep a clean sheet was also impressive with the likes of academy graduates Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho impressing at the back. Will they be able to contribute to another win this Tuesday? I certainly hope so.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Royals’ 42nd Championship clash of the season.
What? Championship Matchday 42
Who? Huddersfield Town
Where? Madejski Stadium
When? Tuesday 7th July 2020 (6pm KO)
Wow – we certainly were not expecting that were we! Four goals for Yakou Meite, a clean sheet and George Puscas adding another one to his tally. That isn’t all. Five academy graduates were also on the pitch at one stage of the game too – a really promising sign of things to come. We were all surprised at the lineup but it is fair to say Mark Bowen got this spot on – and we will be hoping to carry this momentum in to our final five games of the season.
I think I forgot to mention this in the last preview – but Adrian Popa, Vito Mannone and Danny Loader will no longer be available after their contracts expired at the end of last month.
Andy Yiadom and Lucas Joao were also missing once again from the matchday squad at the weekend, although Gabriel Osho and George Puscas are likely to retain their places for this match regardless of whether Yiadom and Joao get back to full fitness. Omar Richards’ substitute appearance will have also been good news for fans – and he may feature from the bench again in this match.
Huddersfield Town: LLLWD
It really is sad to see Huddersfield Town in the position they are currently in. They were so gracious in victory in the play-off final and did not opt to spend a ridiculous amount of money in the Premier League. Under Danny Cowley, we can only hope they get themselves out of this mess - the gaffer did wonders with Lincoln City and I back him to guide the Terriers to survival. Their 3-0 away win at Birmingham City last Wednesday will have been a confidence boost.
Juninho Bacuna will serve the last game in his suspension after receiving a straight red card away to Nottingham Forest at the end of last month. He will be raring to go for the Terriers’ crunch tie against Luton Town this weekend – and they will be needing to secure the three points even if they are successful in Berkshire this Tuesday.
The Last Meeting
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Reading
The Royals left it until the last 20 minutes to win all three points against Huddersfield last August. That week, we had drawn 1-1 against West Bromwich Albion and we really thought this result would be the start of something special for the club after a disappointing last couple of seasons.
Andy Yiadom hit the crossbar and Lucas Boye had an effort saved in the second half before Ovie Ejaria linked up with John Swift to make it 1-0 in the 71st minute. Just over ten minutes later, Michael Morrison expertly headed in from a corner to secure the three points. Reading were on the rise at that point, only for a defeat in the following game to ruin that momentum.
Let’s hope the score this Tuesday will be similar. Tom McIntyre came on and impressed in that August tie, can he make a positive impact once again?
- The last time Reading scored five goals in a league game before the Luton Town hammering was against Ipswich Town in September 2015. A 5-1 win under Steve Clarke in front of the Sky Sports cameras that night.
- In their last ten games against Huddersfield Town in all competitions, they have won four, lost four and drawn two. Nothing to separate them.
- Huddersfield have scored seven goals in their last two league wins combined. When they are on form, they are red hot.
- The Terriers failed to win any of their opening nine league games this season. A disastrous start.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael; Blackett, McIntyre, Morrison, Osho, Pele, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Meite, Puscas
After such a strong performance at the weekend, how can we afford to make changes this midweek?
Tyler Blackett played extremely well in Bedfordshire and it will be a shame to see him go – although Omar Richards will be ready to fill that left back spot next season. Speaking of young players, Tom McInytre and Gabriel Osho did very well after being called up to the starting lineup – and Michael Morrison led the defence expertly as the Royals kept a clean sheet for the first time since the lockdown restart.
Is Osho a right back? I’m not sure – but he certainly played well enough to keep his starting spot against Huddersfield Town. It would be good to tie him down to a new contract.
Another player who made a clear difference was Pele, who started alongside Andy Rinomhota. Having both of them on the pitch gives us that extra layer of protection, with John Swift having the license to push further forward in support of the attack.
Ovie Ejaria also deserves a shout out, especially for the assist for Meite’s third goal at the weekend. Moments of magic like that can really make a difference – let’s hope he can retain that confidence and make an impact for the remainder of this season.
Yakou Meite and George Puscas fully deserved their goals at the weekend – and I pray that both are given a chance to shine again. You feel the Romanian really needed that confidence boost – will it give him the push he needs to become a key player in the squad?
After my 2-1 loss prediction for the Luton game, I have decided not to make a score prediction for this game in tribute to Yakou Meite. Some say that may have been a lucky charm – but for now – this feature is currently under maintenance.
My match previews have been full of woeful predictions this season – you just never know what will happen with this squad! The only thing I have left to say is: come on URZ!
Score Prediction: *CURRENTLY UNDER MAINTENANCE*
Other Championship fixtures
Tuesday 7th July:
Nottingham Forest vs Fulham (5pm KO)
Brentford vs Charlton Athletic (6pm KO)
Luton Town vs Barnsley (6pm KO)
Cardiff City vs Blackburn Rovers (7:45pm KO)
Wednesday 8th July:
Millwall vs Middlesbrough (3pm KO)
West Bromwich Albion vs Derby County (5pm KO)
Birmingham City vs Swansea City (6pm KO)
Bristol City vs Hull City (6pm KO)
Wigan Athletic vs Queens Park Rangers (6pm KO)
Sheffield Wednesday vs Preston North End (7:45pm KO)
Thursday 9th July:
Leeds United vs Stoke City (5pm KO)