Reading return to the Select Car Leasing Stadium for their first game of 2024, as they face Exeter City.
After a torrid 2023, this calendar year simply must be better for the Royals, but the ownership situation may determine what league we’re in and if we’re thriving by the end of December or not.
The 2023/24 campaign has been a dreadful one thus far - and the turn of the new year needs to mark a fresh start for a side that certainly have potential but haven’t showcased it enough this term.
They will want to show what they can do against the Grecians. And ahead of the game this afternoon, we have a short preview.
What? League One Matchday 25
Who? Exeter City
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Monday 1st January
Opposition Manager? Gary Caldwell
The ingredients are there for us to win points - but I do worry that we’ll struggle if we’re without a couple of key players.
If we lose Sam Smith or Lewis Wing, we will feel their absence sorely and Smith’s injury at the start of the season reinforces that.
That’s why I’m less optimistic than others about staying up, with the HMRC charge also in mind.
I’m still not convinced by Ruben Selles either. He could definitely get a lot more out of some of the players who aren’t currently involved and the fact he hasn’t is worrying. Let’s hope he proves me and other doubters wrong!
Exeter will be having nightmares about Reading after the EFL Trophy game earlier this season.
However, they could use this game as fuel to get revenge and if the Grecians can win this game, it could be a massive result for them.
Their draw against Portsmouth is a confidence-booster for them - but they need to that into today’s game.
Starting XI: Button, Dorsett, Abbey, Holmes, Yiadom, Craig, Wing, Vickers, Knibbs, Azeez, Smith
David Button starts between the sticks once more and if he’s fit (unsure if he is), Andy Yiadom comes back in for Amadou Mbengue.
The only change in midfield comes on the left, with Paul Mukairu making way for Caylan Vickers. If Vickers is to impress, he will need a run of starts to get himself back into a rhythm, something he’s been unable to do during his time out of the first 11.
Sam Smith remains the main man up top - and we may be slightly reliant on him as we try to secure three points.
Score Prediction: Reading 2-1 Exeter City
Other League One Fixtures
Barnsley vs Wigan Athletic
Blackpool vs Lincoln City
Bolton Wanderers vs Burton Albion
Cambridge United vs Leyton Orient
Carlisle United vs Port Vale
Charlton Athletic vs Oxford United
Derby County vs Peterborough United
Northampton Town vs Cheltenham Town
Portsmouth vs Stevenage
Shrewsbury Town vs Fleetwood Town
Wycombe Wanderers vs Bristol Rovers
All fixtures get underway at 3pm