News and Views
Lower Turnout Expected As QPR Visit In TV Game
12 January 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?
It looks set to be a lower crowd than might be expected at the Madejski Stadium tonight after Reading's home game with QPR was moved to Thursday night at the request of Sky TV. The inconvenience of a Thursday evening combines with the forecast of a cold and damp evening as rain, sleet and possible snow clear just before the 8pm kick-off. Although there should be no issues with the game going ahead, many fans may well still be tempted to watch the game on live TV in warm surroundings instead of turning up at the Madejski.
Paul McShane and Callum Harriott are both out for what could be many weeks after picking up recent injuries. Harriott has a hamstring injury sustained in the last minutes of the first half in the fogged off Fulham game, while Paul McShane is sidelined with a fractured wrist. Tiago Ilori will not feature for Reading. His signing from Liverpool was widely reported last week but has taken much longer to officially complete than expected. Future signings in this transfer window also could be doubt with the collapse of the Chinese takeover deal. Reading's Thai owners are expected to only offer very limited funds to manager Jaap Stam to strengthen a club they had been hoping to sell.
Jaap Stam will be aiming to avoid worries of events off the pitch and focus on returning to winning ways after last weekend's thrashing at Old Trafford. The Royals lost 0-4, but the score was generous to Reading if anything as the Royals offered little resistance against a strong Manchester United side. Al Habsi had an excellent game but will be looking to put his one very well reported mistake in that game behind him tonight - hopefully with another cleansheet.
QPR have Kazenga LuaLua available for selection after the winger arrived at QPR from Brighton on loan.
A win for Reading would see them close the gap on Newcastle United in second place to just three points. QPR are down in 17th place after a disappointing campaign so far. Although Reading had no chance in their FA Cup third round fixture, Rangers might have hoped to progress last weekend but instead lost 1-2 at home to Championship strugglers Blackburn. Before that QPR had put a run of six straight Championship defeats behind them. That shocking run was finished with a 2-1 away win at Wolves and another 2-1 victory at home over Ipswich Town as they stopped their slide down the table.
Reading's form is much better with three consecutive league victories in recent weeks. Reading have won 9 games out of their last 11 in the League - an amazing run that has got everyone talking about very much unexpected possibility of promotion. For a change, Reading are firm favourites with the bookies for a win. As everyone says, anyone can beat anyone else in the Championship, and QPR remain difficult opposition according to Stam: "It would be arrogant and misplaced to think that in any game in the Championship we are going to get three points very easily. We have to work very hard and show some quality on the ball, otherwise a well-organised team like QPR can be very hard to score goals against."
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