Reading will be hoping to get themselves back on track this afternoon as they take on Hull City, who have been in fine shape under Liam Rosenior.
Losing four consecutive games coming into this clash, the Royals desperately need a win going into the international break, with Paul Ince’s future potentially in doubt if the Berkshire outfit suffer another defeat.
Considering how good the hosts have been at the Select Car Leasing Stadium for much of the campaign, Ince’s men will be hopeful of securing a much-needed victory, but the Tigers will provide them with an extremely tough test.
Ahead of this clash, we have your match preview!
What? Championship Matchday 38
Who? Hull City
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Saturday 18th March
Opposition Manager? Liam Rosenior
We approached the Blackburn Rovers game with more positivity - but we were horrific defensively and could have easily lost 6-1 at Ewood Park. I hate to be negative but we looked lost at the back and clearly needed to switch to a back three at the interval to give us a bit more protection.
We may have been 1-0 down at the break - but you can still attack with a back three - with the likes of Nesta Guinness-Walker and Amadou Mbengue able to be a threat going forward. Well done to Lucas Joao and Cesare Casadei for showing why they should be two of the first names on the teamsheet - and Mbengue should be commended for putting in a couple of dangerous crosses.
There are positives and the team have my full support - but my faith in Ince Sr is zero.
Owner Acun Ilicali made a few wrong decisions in the summer with a few of their signings failing to thrive at the MKM Stadium.
However, his heart is in the right place and clearly wants to build something special in East Yorkshire, so he has my full respect for that.
He also seems to be playing a very hands-on role at the club and that’s another reason why he should be praised, with his decision to appoint Rosenior proving to be a masterstroke as well.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they manage to force their way into the promotion mix next season - but they just need to ensure they remain within the EFL’s spending limits. Last year’s sale of Keane-Lewis Potter should help their cause in terms of that.
The Last Meeting
Hull City 1-2 Reading
Starting XI: Lumley; Guinness-Walker, Sarr, Holmes, Moore, Mbengue, Fornah, Hendrick, Ince, Casadei, Joao
As usual, Joe Lumley starts between the sticks but I’ll go with a back five.
Nesta Guinness-Walker starts at left wing-back, with Liam Moore also coming in if he’s fit enough to start. Tom Holmes, Naby Sarr and Mbengue retain their places in the backline, though Tom McIntyre could start in Sarr’s place.
Casadei has to be in the lineup once again and Jeff Hendrick starts in the absence of Mamadou Loum. The nature of Loum’s dismissal is disappointing - and we can have no complaints about the referee’s decision.
I’m sticking with the 3-4-2-1 propaganda, with Casadei and Tom Ince starting in attacking midfield roles and Joao operating up top.
Score Prediction: Reading 1-3 Hull City
Here are my Championship score predictions for this weekend:
Blackpool 1-1 Coventry City
Middlesbrough 2-0 Preston North End
Millwall 2-0 Huddersfield Town
Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Birmingham City
Rotherham United 2-1 Cardiff City
Stoke City 1-1 Norwich City
Sunderland 1-2 Luton Town
Watford 3-0 Wigan Athletic
Swansea City 2-1 Bristol City