Reading will be hoping to build on their draw at Lincoln City by securing a win against Wigan Athletic this afternoon.
Today’s hosts didn’t perform terribly during last weekend’s clash at LNER Stadium - but they will be frustrated that they didn’t pick up three points - with wins sorely needed in their quest to avoid relegation.
Returning to the Select Car Leasing Stadium for this afternoon’s game, they will be hoping to pick up a point or three once again, but that won’t be an easy task considering they are facing a side who have fought against adversity and fought their way out of the relegation zone quite early on in the season despite being deducted eight points.
Ahead of kick-off, we have a short preview.
What? League One Matchday 22
Who? Wigan Athletic
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Saturday 23rd December
Opposition Manager? Shaun Maloney
On the pitch, I hope we can build on that draw at Lincoln. Wins are needed now considering the future sanctions we may face, including the HMRC charge that’s currently hanging over us like a dark cloud.
Off the pitch, it was good to meet Dayong Pang and other senior Reading staff on Wednesday. For me, this meeting was useful for two reasons. Firstly, it allowed us to share the supporters’ concerns - and we ourselves clear on quite a few points.
Secondly, it’s another form of action. Some fans feel hopeless and don’t know what to do next, so we hope this meeting can help in terms of persuading Dai Yongge to give exclusivity to a credible buyer. Realistically, the meeting may not have had that much of an impact on that side of things, but we’ll never know until we try.
Minutes of the meeting will be released in due course.
The psychological impact of an eight-point deduction before the season starts can’t be underestimated.
But the Latics have done extremely well and thoroughly deserve to be out of the drop zone.
However, they know they still have work to do, and a win today would be a further boost for them in their quest to survive.
Considering where they were at the start of the season, just achieving survival is a positive.
Starting XI: Button, Dorsett, Abbey, Holmes, Yiadom, Craig, Wing, Mukairu, Knibbs, Azeez, Smith
I’m writing this before the press conference so hopefully this doesn’t go out of date!
David Button starts between the sticks again, with Jeriel Dorsett, Nelson Abbey, Tom Holmes and Andy Yiadom at the back. Dorsett’s pass for the goal last weekend was sensational - hopefully we can see more of that today.
Michael Craig and Lewis Wing start once more with Harvey Knibbs operating in an attacking midfield role, and Femi Azeez is in the 11 again.
Paul Mukairu is on the left again, with either him or Caylan Vickers needing a run of games to get themselves up to speed.
And Sam Smith is up top once more.
Predicting this game is a difficult one, so I’ll sit on the fence!
Score Prediction: Reading 1-1 Wigan Athletic
Other League One Fixtures
Barnsley vs Stevenage
Blackpool vs Bristol Rovers
Bolton Wanderers vs Leyton Orient
Carlisle United vs Cheltenham Town
Charlton Athletic vs Burton Albion
Northampton Town vs Oxford United
Portsmouth vs Fleetwood Town
Shrewsbury Town vs Peterborough United
Wycombe Wanderers vs Port Vale
All fixtures get underway at 3pm