Reading will be looking to put a halt to their losing run this evening as they make the long trip up to Lancashire to face Blackburn Rovers.
Tonight’s hosts are currently flying high in the Championship table and will be looking to solidify their place in the promotion mix by winning three points tonight. Arguably, this is a must-win game for them following their loss against Stoke City on Friday, with Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side’s late comeback proving to be futile in the end.
This is also an important game for the visitors who need to get a point or three on the board following consecutive defeats against Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Millwall. Can they avoid a loss tonight? I doubt it but we’ll see.
Here’s some of the information and thoughts ahead of this clash.
What? Championship Matchday 37
Who? Blackburn Rovers
Where? Ewood Park
When? Wednesday 15th March
Opposition Manager? Jon Dahl Tomasson
It was always going to be a difficult task to fill the shoes of Tony Mowbray but current boss Tomasson has done extremely well. Getting reasonably far in the Carabao Cup, he’s one game away from taking Rovers to Wembley with their FA Cup clash against Sheffield United coming up at the weekend.
Although some Reading fans will see this distraction as an opportunity for us to capitalise - they had a wake-up call against Stoke last week when they went 3-0 down. With this in mind, it’s probably a bad time to play Rovers but we’ve got to go out and compete.
They have some talented players including Ben Brereton Diaz who can cause us problems and there’s no doubt that the hosts will be looking to revenge following the reverse fixture - but we can also cause issues when we play to our potential.
You can’t help but feel this game will depend on whether Blackburn turn up or not. If they do, they will probably come out on top.
The football on Saturday was pretty dreadful from both sides - but the visitors did more than enough to win the game. Failing to have a single shot on target, we didn’t deserve a point and our lack of creativity was a real concern again. Changes are required if we want to have any chance of winning a point or three from this game - but the manager needs to take responsibility too. Paul Ince isn’t getting anywhere near enough out of his squad at this stage and for me, he has one or two games to save his job (if we can sack him within the rules).
We may be the underdogs tonight but if we just sit back and fail to impose ourselves on the game, I’ll be extremely disappointed. We did well earlier in the season but our performances just haven’t been good enough recently. The Blackpool game wasn’t too bad but we were awful in the first half against Rotherham United and that’s a game we ended up winning!
A lot of supporters have just had enough now. Ince has been a victim of recent years because supporters were fed up already and he’s far from being the only problem - but it feels as though many fans were willing to get behind him this season. Results have changed the mood, but the style of play and his comments to the media haven’t helped either.
The Last Meeting
Reading 3-0 Blackburn Rovers
Starting XI: Lumley, Guinness-Walker, Sarr, Holmes, Moore, Mbengue, Fornah, Casadei, Azeez, Ince, Joao
Joe Lumley was unlucky to concede the penalty at the weekend, having been put in an awkward position. He starts again though, with Nesta Guinness-Walker, Naby Sarr and Tom Holmes keeping their places in the first 11.
Amadou Mbengue comes in for Scott Dann though and with Andy Yiadom likely to be out of action, Amadou Mbengue starts at right wing-back. It’s tempting to go with a back four - but I’ve stuck with the three for now.
Tyrese Fornah comes into the starting lineup along with Cesare Casadei, with the duo’s ability on the ball potentially helping us to retain possession and play through the lines. Fornah can sit back too, providing extra protection to the back three.
It may be harsh to drop Hendrick - but bringing Casadei could be ideal to freshen things up a little.
In the final third, Femi Azeez and Tom Ince start as advanced midfielders behind Lucas Joao, who was very good during his cameo at the weekend. He showed real quality on the ball and was unlucky not to get even more time to shine against the Lions.
I can’t see us getting anything out of this game though. A loss feels inevitable.
Score Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Reading
Here are my score predictions for this evening:
Cardiff City 1-2 West Brom
Huddersfield Town 1-3 Norwich City
Hull City 1-1 Burnley
Luton Town 2-0 Bristol City
Sunderland 2-0 Sheffield United