Reading return to the Select Car Leasing Stadium this evening as they face Cheltenham Town.
Both sides will be disappointed by their defeats at the weekend, although the Royals will probably be feeling worse about their result after their 1-0 loss away at Port Vale.
Coming into the game against the Valiants, there was a lot of optimism but that has now been replaced by pessimism following the game in Stoke-on-Trent.
They will want redemption but tonight’s game won’t be an easy task for the Berkshire, who are in desperate need of more attacking firepower in the absence of Sam Smith.
Ahead of the game, we have your match preview!
What? League One Matchday 3
Who? Cheltenham Town
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Tuesday 15th August
Opposition Manager? Wade Elliott
Saturday was very disappointing but tonight is a good opportunity for the home team to respond. It’s easy saying this in hindsight, but Ruben Selles shouldn’t have made so many changes following an exceptional win against Millwall.
It may have been too risky to keep the exact same team that started at The Den, but many of those who impressed against the Lions should have been involved again. Matty Carson, Nelson Abbey, Tyler Bindon and Mamadi Camara can all count themselves unlucky not to have started at Vale Park.
Tonight, some of those that didn’t perform well at the weekend need to be benched or left out of the matchday squad completely. It may even benefit someone like Tom Holmes to be in the stands for a week or two, just to get a break.
Saturday also showed that we need more faces through the door. Without them, we’ll probably struggle this season. Five or six new players required I think.
They have done reasonably well since the departure of Michael Duff to Barnsley and that will be a big relief for Cheltenham who will want to retain their League One status for as long as possible.
Tonight’s visitors may not have Alfie May or Caleb Taylor at their disposal anymore, with the former proving to be an excellent goalscorer and the latter impressing on his loan spell, but they do have some good players at their disposal. Former Royal Luke Southwood will be desperate to keep a clean sheet and the experienced Curtis Davies could help him do that.
They aren’t an easy side to face despite their start to the 2023/24 campaign, so the Royals will need to be on their A-game.
Starting XI: Boyce-Clarke, Carson, Abbey, Dean, Yiadom, Savage, Wing, Guinness-Walker, Azeez, Ehibhatiomhan, Knibbs
I haven’t actually made that many changes from my preferred lineup against Port Vale.
Coniah Boyce-Clarke starts between the sticks ahead. David Button didn’t do a huge amount wrong at the weekend but I’d prefer CBC in goal.
My back four also stays the same with Matty Carson, Nelson Abbey, Harlee Dean and Andy Yiadom at the back. Having Amadou Mbengue instead of Yiadom in the first 11 would be ideal - but Mbengue could potentially be out if he has concussion.
Charlie Savage and Lewis Wing, both of whom could get themselves on the scoresheet this evening, start as the midfield two with Nesta Guinness-Walker on the left and Femi Azeez on the right. Azeez has been very poor at times - but with Harvey Knibbs up front - our wide options are limited.
Knibbs starts alongside Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan, who will be looking to get himself on the scoresheet following his brace at The Den.
Tonight’s game is so hard to predict - and that’s why I’ll sit on the fence and predict a draw!
Hopefully we can get a win on the board, but not many fans will be confident after the weekend.
Score Prediction: Reading 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Other League One Fixtures
Barnsley vs Peterborough United
Blackpool vs Port Vale
Bolton Wanderers vs Fleetwood Town
Cambridge United vs Stevenage
Carlisle United vs Wigan Athletic
Charlton Athletic vs Bristol Rovers
Derby County vs Oxford United
Northampton Town vs Lincoln City
Shrewsbury Town vs Burton Albion
Wycombe Wanderers vs Leyton Orient
Portsmouth vs Exeter City (8pm)
All games kick off at 7:45pm this evening unless stated.