News and Views
Reading Aim For Victory At Burton
05 May 2017
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading head to Burton Albion on Sunday for the final game of the regular season - and our first competitive trip to the Pirelli Stadium. The final away game of the season promises to be a fun day out for Reading's travelling fans who will take their random inflatables with them to take in a new ground while celebrating Reading's success so far this season.
The Royals have a 100% record against Burton after a 5-1 League Cup win back in 2009 and this season's 3-0 League victory in November at the Madejski Stadium. If the Royals can maintain that run, and notch up another victory over the Brewers, they will finish 3rd in the final Championship table and will be going on to face Fulham in the Championship play-offs.
Burton will have nothing to play for after a successful season saw them survive in the Championship after last season's promotion. They were favourites for relegation at the start of the campaign and have done very well to stay clear of the drop zone and confirm their place in the Championship for next season with games spare. Burton have finished the season strongly with wins against Birmingham City and Leeds United, and a draw against Barnsley in their last three games. Burton did the Royals a big favour with their 2-1 win over Leeds, but as it turns out Reading's results were more than enough to secure a play-off spot with Leeds missing out.
There's been plenty of discussion on who Reading should face in the play-offs and whether home advantage in the first or second leg is best. That discussion has extended to suggesting that a defeat in this match wouldn't be a bad thing. That's total, complete nonsense. A win will set us up properly for the play-offs and see us finish third in the table. The higher finish the better, and having the home leg in the second game will be a huge bonus for the Royals. Jaap Stam has made it clear he will be aiming for a win and a strong finish on Sunday: "We're going to give it our best shot. We want to finish the final game well as we don't want to go into the play-offs with a disappointment."
A win is obviously what we want. Fulham may have finished the season strongly and will have good form on their side, but I'd prefer to face them over two legs in the semi final rather than a one-off game at Wembley Stadium. Reading are not expected to make it through the play-offs by bookmakers, the general public, and their own fans - which is definately a good thing. We've sneaked in under the radar all season, and let's hope it can continue until the end of May.
Jaap Stam remains likely to field a strong side, unlike Huddersfield who, having already secured their play-off spot, decided to rest most of their team for last weekend's 0-2 defeat at Birmingham. Huddersfield got in hot water over that but Reading will probably avoid such trouble. However, Stam may choose to shuffle his starting eleven around as he has done so many times this season. Stam will take the chance to rest key players, while Garath McCleary and Paul McShane will miss out as they recover from injuries. That may see some fringe players get a last run out and a chance to prove themselves ahead of the crucial play-off games.
Meetings With Burton Albion
|19 November 2016||Championship||Burton (HOME)||W: 3-0||Read report...|
|11 August 2009||League Cup||Burton (HOME)||W: 5-1||Read report...|
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