News and Views

Reading Travel To Wigan Needing Win

17 April 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's tough run in continues on Friday night as the Royals travel to FA Cup semi-finalists Wigan Athletic. A Reading win would keep them in the play off positions and would see them climb above Wigan, who have a game in hand. A win is essential for the Royals to be certain of keeping hopes of finishing in the play-off positions alive. A home win for Wigan will be a huge step to securing their place in the play-offs, leaving the battle for sixth place wide open for the chasing pack. Reading's play-off rivals are also in action with Bournemouth facing Sheffield Wednesday at home and Brighton traveling to Huddersfield. Ipswich travel to Watford on Saturday (see our play-off rivals run-in guide for more details).

Both Reading and Wigan have the same form over the last five games - with one win, two draws and two defeats each - hardly the form of teams attempting to earn promotion to the Premier League. Reading will need to improve from their last three games against Wigan, which have all been victories for the Latics.

Reading -v- Wigan - Championship - 18 April 2014


 

Final Run In - Who Plays Who

16 April 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

After sitting in sixth place practically all season, the Royals find themselves still hanging in there with four games left to play. The Royals were five points clear of their rivals a few weeks ago but our inability to win at home, combined with a disappointing away defeat to rivals Bournemouth, sees Reading holding on to sixth place on goal difference only. Wigan, in fifth, already have a three point gap and a game a hand - effectively leaving at least four teams fighting for the final play-off position over the final four games of the Championship season.

So how does the final run in shape up? Not too clever for Reading. We haven't won any of our last seven home games and have two more to come against Middlesbrough (12th in the table) and then Burnley (2nd and already nearly promoted) on the last day of the season. It's likely Burnley will be already promoted when they visit and have nothing to play for - but that didn't stop Leicester taking a point away from the Madejski Stadium. Our away fixtures see a trip to Wigan this Friday and then a trip to Doncaster Rovers to finish the away campaign. An optimist might predict wins against Middlesbrough and Doncaster but seven points would surely be at the top end of the outcome for the Royals. That would give us 71 points in total. Will that be enough?

Reading

  • Fri 18 Apr 2014 - Wigan (5th) (Away)
  • Tue 22 Apr 2014 - Middlesbrough (12th) (Home)
  • Sat 26 Apr 2014 - Doncaster 19th (Away)
  • Sat 3 May 2014 - Burnley (2nd) (Home)

Brighton

Brighton, currently level on points with Reading, play 3 teams in the bottom 8. Yeovil and Blackpool should be home wins. It's not fun admitting that Brigton might have secured a higher finish than Reading even before the final day of the season.
  • Fri 18 Apr 2014 - Huddersfield (17th) (Away)
  • Mon 21 Apr 2014 - Blackpool (20th) (Home)
  • Fri 25 Apr 2014 - Yeovil (24th) (Home)
  • Sat 3 May 2014 - Nottm Forest (11th) (Away)

Ipswich

Ipswich, also level on points with the Royals, also have to face Burnley, but away from home, and have a tougher run in than Brighton. The crunch game for them may be Bournemouth next week. The loser of that one may have to wave their play-off hopes goodbye. A draw in that game might be the most useful for Reading.
  • Sat 19 Apr 2014 - Watford (13th) (Away)
  • Mon 21 Apr 2014 - Bournemouth (9th) (Home)
  • Sat 26 Apr 2014 - Burnley (2nd) (Away)
  • Sat 3 May 2014 - Sheff Wed (15th) (Home)

Bournemouth

The Cherries currently have a two point gap to make up, but a win over Ipswich could well put sixth place in reach. If they can do that then all the other games are winnable for them.
  • Fri 18 Apr 2014 - Sheff Wed (15th) (Home)
  • Mon 21 Apr 2014 - Ipswich (8th) (Away)
  • Sat 26 Apr 2014 - Nottm Forest (11th) (Home)
  • Sat 3 May 2014 - Millwall (22nd) (Away)
It seems that only changing our fortunes at home will prevent the season from ending in failure. Two wins are highly unlikely to be enough to secure sixth place - meaning we have to beat either Middlesbrough or Burnley - ideally both. Of course it maybe that only four straight wins will be enough for the Royals - and given current form the most likely outcome is that the season will end in disappointment.

Championship Table at: 16 April 2014
  PlHWHDHLHFHAAWADALAFAAGDPOINTS
5Wigan 41117332218392219+1467
6READING42795342310472927+1364
7Brighton 4296628208762117+1264
8Ipswich 42115531216872426+864
9Bournemouth 42105634227682536+162



 

Back To Sixth With Point Against Leicester

14 April 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading put in a reasonable showing at home against promoted Leicester City, to pick up a valuable point and sneak back into sixth place, with four games of the season left to play. The Royals are sixth only on goal difference now as Reading, Brighton, Ipswich and Bournemouth all target that final play-off place for a shot at promotion to the Premier League. It's now eight games since Reading last managed to win at home - a run that threatens to leave Reading outside the play-off positions at the end of the season. Out of the last seven home performances this was one of the better performances as Reading looked good in parts against the runaway Championship leaders. Reading might have sneaked as the full three points but the visitors will certainly feel the game. Reading's season has been inconsistant all term and this game felt the same with periods of Reading domination and some good attacking football followed by extended periods of disarray.

Reading had their youngsters to thank for earning a point. Michael Hector was superb in front of the back four and Jordan Obita was lively throughout. The Royals took the lead from a perfectly placed Obita free-kick on fifteen minutes. He floated it from the right to the far side of the box where Pearce rose to head it firmly back across goal and into the back of the net. Immediately after the goal Reading were actually on fire and looked like they might add a second and send themselves on their way. The passing was impressive and positive as Reading created some chances. Pogrebnyak might have earnt a penalty but one two many dramatic dives around the area probably pushed the referee the other direction and he emphatically waved play on when Pogrebnyak appeared genuinely look to have been taken down. Leicester might have already wrapped up promotion, and lost a bit of focus recently, but they still looked quality in parts and capable of scoring. A period of pressure ended with Drinkwater scoring after half an hour through a massive crowd of Reading players that left McCarthy unsighted and unable to make a safe.

McCarthy kept the scores level with a couple of good stops and racing off his line to prevent Leicester taking the lead at the start of the second half as the visitors started stronger. Good performances weren't consistant across the team. Bridge was disappointing as well as being often exposed he only seemed to be able to curve the ball out of play everytime he tried to play it out of defence. And then there was Jobi McAnuff. I like him and he's done some good things in a Reading shirt. But he will be the most disappointed with his game tonight. Nearly everything he did went wrong - even the simple things - and he spent most of the game looking annoyed at himself rather than fulfilling his captain's role. Nigel Adkins has had problems with unavailability of players and that was made worse by Williams going off injured to be replaced with Leigertwood. Leigertwood looked keen but didn't last long himself - quickly picking up two yellow cards as Reading finished with 10 men - and a single point that keeps the season alive.


 

Bournemouth Deliver Play-Off Blow

08 April 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's play-off ambitions took a serious set-back with an away defeat against play-off rivals Bournemouth. Bournemouth's 3-1 victory moved them to just two points behind Reading as the season enters it's crucial phase. This was a bad defeat for the Royals who found themselves three goals down before the break. Hal Robson-Kanu's goal on 75 minutes served only as a consolation with Reading already well beaten.