Reading return to the Select Car Leasing Stadium tonight as they look to get back to winning ways, with Preston North End their opponents.
Ryan Lowe’s side have made a reasonably successful start to the campaign despite enduring some low points, with the ex-Plymouth Argyle boss managing to thrive at Deepdale despite being constrained by a limited budget. The visitors will fancy their chances of winning three points this evening - but they may not have it all their own way as they make the long trip down from Lancashire.
The Royals, on the other hand, will just be desperate to get a win on the board following a poor run of form.
Ahead of tonight’s game, we take a closer look at the two teams.
What? Championship Matchday 19
Who? Preston North End
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Friday 4th November
Opposition Manager? Ryan Lowe
Tuesday night was a mixed one for the Royals. Getting the negatives out of the way, it wasn’t the best performance. Going forward, we just didn’t have enough and that was with Tom Ince on the pitch, so that’s quite a big concern. It’s not as if we didn’t have a decent number of options up top, so our performance in the final third must improve and let’s hope we see a better display this evening.
The fact we were able to keep a clean sheet against the likes of Elijah Adebayo, Harry Cornick, Carlton Morris and Cameron Jerome was impressive though, even if the quartet didn’t enjoy the most successful night. Yakou Meite was also a threat at times - and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s in the starting lineup once again against the Lilywhites.
Amadou Mbengue also deserves a special mention - because he has been a vital figure in recent games and stepped in well. His lack of experience in the Championship shows at times - but on the whole - he’s done a very decent job.
Preston North End:
There hasn’t been a huge amount of excitement at Deepdale in recent years. It seems as though they’ve been a team that haven’t been in huge danger of relegation but had no real chance of winning promotion either.
Under Lowe though, a highly-rated manager who could easily end up in the Premier League in the future, their supporters have a reason to be optimistic again and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them remain in the top half for the majority of this campaign.
The one promising thing for their current manager is the fact he’s thriving even without former assistant Steven Schumacher, who has done an excellent job at Home Park so far this season and was credited for a lot of the work he did alongside Lowe.
Although I haven’t gone for him in my next section, Emil Riis is one to watch as a player that can be a real threat in front of goal, but it remains to be seen whether he’s on top form tonight. Enduring a tough first season (2020/21) at Deepdale, he responded well last term and is enjoying another successful campaign this term.
Opposition Player I’d Like: Liam Lindsay
Preston’s defence has been superb at times this season and they have Freddie Woodman to thank for that.
But he isn’t the only one who has contributed, with centre-back Lindsay also enjoying a decent season. Having another central defender at our disposal would be ideal in our current situation - and someone like the 26-year-old who’s in top form could make a real difference to our defence.
He even received praise following his side’s 4-2 defeat against Blackpool not so long ago.
The Last Meeting
Preston North End 2-3 Reading
Starting XI: Lumley, Guinness-Walker, McIntyre, Holmes, Mbengue, Yiadom, Fornah, Loum, Hendrick, Ince, Long
Joe Lumley did spill a cross in midweek but did reasonably well overall, so he deserves to keep his place in the starting lineup again tonight.
In defence, it’s time to take the handbrake off on the left-hand side. Nesta Guinness-Walker offers more going forward than Baba Rahman and this is why I’ve gone for the ex-AFC Wimbledon man to start this evening. His lack of minutes didn’t seem to hinder his performance levels last time he came back into the team so let’s hope he can make a similar impact tonight if he’s in the first 11. Andy Yiadom starts on the right in place of Junior Hoilett to give the Canadian a breather.
In the middle, Tom McIntyre should hopefully be available again and if so, he starts to provide solidity at the back with Guinness-Walker likely to be venturing forward at points. Let’s hope Tom Holmes is available too - because he was superb against Luton and should be given a huge amount of credit for the clean sheet at Kenilworth Road. With Yiadom on the right, Mbengue gets the opportunity to start in central defence once again.
In my last preview, I completely forgot Mamadou Loum was suspended! He comes back in for me though along with Jeff Hendrick and Tyrese Fornah. The latter deserves another chance to shine and with three or four men in the middle of the park, that could help us to take control of the game.
That fourth man could be Tom Ince, who may be an asset either behind Shane Long or alongside him. The former may be a better option - because the advanced midfield role could allow him to play a more influential role in the game.
In terms of a score prediction, it will probably be a closely-contested game but I feel confident in my lineup! Paul Ince may not go with that in fairness, but still, I’ll go with a 2-1 victory.
Score Prediction: Reading 2-1 Preston North End
Here are my predictions for this weekend:
Sheffield United 2-1 Burnley
Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Huddersfield Town
Blackpool 2-0 Luton Town
Middlesbrough 2-1 Bristol City
Millwall 1-0 Hull City
Queens Park Rangers 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
Rotherham United 1-2 Norwich City
Stoke City 1-1 Birmingham City
Sunderland 2-0 Cardiff City
Swansea City 3-0 Wigan Athletic
Watford 3-1 Coventry City