News and Views

Royals Favourites As Ipswich Visit

09 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's solid home form has ensured that they are the favourites to pick up another precious three points when they host Ipswich on Saturday. The Royals are already facing up to the prospect of a long battle against relegation, but fans can take some solace from their results at the Madejski Stadium. They beat Bristol City 3-2 at the weekend to make it three wins out of their last four home games and that should give the players confidence. Ipswich sit bottom of the table and this really is the sort of game Reading must win if they are to beat the drop.

The best betting websites have odds on this game and they have Reading as the favourites at 6/5 or 5/4, while the draw is 23/10 and Ipswich are out at 9/4. The Tractor Boys have lost their last two away trips, losing 2-0 to Leeds and 3-0 to Millwall, and their situation looks pretty dire. Three teams go down in the Championship and Ipswich are the clear, odds-on favourites to do so, while Bolton are also odds-on at 8/11 to be relegated. Then Rotherham are 10/11 and Reading are 5/4, so the bookmakers predict the Royals could escape the ignominy of relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Most Reading fans would have been horrified by the prospect of a 21st place finish at the start of the campaign, but a fair few would take it now. They have not been too horrendous on the road, where they have one win and three draws to give them a better away record than six rivals. But at home only Hull, Bolton and Ipswich have fared worse than them. Yet that it down to the fact that they lost their opening four home games of the season. Since then they have staged a bit of a resurgence, beating Bristol, Millwall and Hull.

They desperately need to maintain that momentum and vanquish a relegation rival when Ipswich roll into town on Saturday. "I think I can stay another week, which is nice," said beleaguered boss Paul Clement after the win against the Robins at the weekend. "It was an important result, we had lost the previous two games, we were in the bottom three and still are, though it's a little bit tighter so we're not stranded. A lot of pressure has been building because of performances and results, so it's a really good feeling to win at home and hopefully we can use it as a bit of a springboard now which is something we haven't managed to do so far this season."

Clement had his midfielders to thank for the victory over mid-table Bristol City. Liam Kelly and Leandro Bacuna both got on the score sheet and they were purposeful in their running throughout the game, while academy product Andy Rinomhota earned rave reviews for his performance. Yakou Meite should also take encouragement from his goal and Reading now need to discover a modicum of consistency.

They have not won consecutive games for an entire year, as they last picked up back-to-back victories over Barnsley and Sunderland back in November 2017 under Jaap Stam. Clement's team could not have been presented with a better opportunity to end that woeful record as Ipswich have taken just 10 points from 16 games and they are winless in their last four. Ipswich have already lost six of their eight away games this season, and Reading have the ability to gun them down on Saturday. They have already rolled the dice, bringing in Paul Lambert to replace Paul Hurst at the end of October, but the results are yet to pick up and the Royals must ensure it does not happen against them.

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