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Exeter City vs Reading: Match Preview 2023/24

Can the Royals back up their decent home displays with a good performance on the road?

Derby County v Exeter City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Reading will be hoping to continue their good run of form by securing another win against Exeter City this weekend.

Overcoming a previously unbeaten Stevenage side, they capitalised on their home advantage but it remains to be seen whether they can replicate their performances at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on the road.

The Berkshire side have been a completely different team (quite literally) since their defeat at Port Vale - but they can’t take anything for granted and will need to put in a perfect performance if they want to collect another three points.

Can they come out on top in Devon? That remains to be seen.

For now, here are some of the things you need to know ahead of kick-off.

What? League One Matchday 5

Season? 2023/24

Who? Exeter City

Where? St James’ Park

When? Saturday 26th August

Time? 3pm

Opposition Manager? Gary Caldwell

The Royals

Considering we probably have to adhere to a certain budget, it may be unrealistic to expect four faces through the door without others going the other way.

But we do need a striker as a matter of urgency and it would also be good if we can bring in a left-back. If we can address this area and keep Nesta-Guinness Walker, NGW could potentially play in a more advanced area and that would be ideal considering he isn’t brilliant defensively.

If we can bring in a striker and a left-back, we should then be looking to bring in a winger or a defensive midfield, depending on where Ben Elliott mainly plays.

If we have to use the loan market, we have to use the loan market. We need more bodies in before the deadline.

The Opponents

The Grecians will probably miss Jay Stansfield this term - and others will need to step up to the plate in his absence. But they’ve made a decent enough start to the season, with their only loss coming against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Their most impressive result was a 3-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park - and they will be hoping that their start to the campaign is a sign of things to come.

My Lineup

Starting XI: Button, Carson, Abbey, Bindon, Mbengue, Savage, Hutchinson, Knibbs, Elliott, Ehibhatiomhan, Vickers

David Button was busier last weekend than he was against Cheltenham and deserves to retain his starting spot. He will need to keep his performance levels high if he wants to maintain his status as a regular starter.

It has to be the same back four ahead of Button, with Matt Carson, Nelson Abbey, Tyler Bindon and Amadou Mbengue proving to be real assets this term. All four will know that Ruben Selles isn’t afraid to make changes if required so they can’t afford to relax. The fact they have had a full week off should benefit them, although they may take time to get back into their rhythm.

In the absence of Lewis Wing, Sam Hutchinson has to step up to the plate again, but we can’t afford to rely on the latter throughout the season considering his injury record. Charlie Savage starts alongside the ex-Sheffield Wednesday man.

Harvey Knibbs is in contention today despite being forced off with an eye injury last weekend - and Ben Elliott comes into the first 11 following his excellent cameo against Stevenage. It will be interesting to see whether he’s better in an advanced role or in a deeper position.

And up top, Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Caylan Vickers should continue their partnership. It’s a shame we don’t have too many natural centre-forward options, but there’s still time to address this issue.

Score Prediction: Exeter City 1-1 Reading

Other League One Fixtures

Bristol Rovers vs Wycombe Wanderers

Burton Albion vs Bolton Wanderers

Cheltenham Town vs Northampton Town

Fleetwood Town vs Shrewsbury Town

Leyton Orient vs Cambridge United

Lincoln City vs Blackpool

Oxford United vs Charlton Athletic

Peterborough United vs Derby County

Port Vale vs Carlisle United

Stevenage vs Portsmouth

Wigan Athletic vs Barnsley