When : Tuesday 6th March, 8pm
Where : Madejski Stadium, Reading, RG2 0FL
Capacity : 24,161
Blah, blah, biggest game of the season, blah, blah, must win, blah, blah, real 6 pointer etc. Cliches they maybe but it's all true with this one. A win puts light and breathing space between the might of Reading FC and those huffing and puffing and hoping to blow our house down beneath us. A draw maintains nothing but the down down feeling of the status quo. Defeat will lead to another meltdown on this board, yet another poll about Jaap Stam and further disbelief as he's still in charge by Wednesday lunchtime.
So let's make this quite clear Jaap, Andries, Said et al what Reading MUST do is go for Bolton from the start and take the game to them. Make them worry, make them defend and work rather than allowing them the freedom to hassle, close down and grab the inevitable breakaway goal as yet another defensive howler clangs to the earth.
Bolton have limited resource owing to financial restrictions and Parky has been fighting fires up there all season. They are limited but fighters and Parky will have them suitably fired and believing they can provide yet another nail for Stam's coffin (although finding enough space in the wood to hammer it into will be a real challenge).
Reading's current league record as we know is disgrace. 1 win in the last 14 attempts and that was at Burton. Then there's 1 clean sheet in the last 15 attempts (0-0 at Hull). Even worse is the utterly ***** home form, it's beyond belief that there have only been 3 wins in 17 league games. It is wholly unacceptable that the by far the majority of home performances have been abject, inept, wretched, despicable, insert adjective of your own choice here and about time the management actually stopped bleating about players making "wrong decisions" etc., woke up and actually did something about it all. On the upside at least there is a chance of 3 points as all other home wins this season have been Tuesday "nighties" so let's hope it's repeat of the last win way back on 28th November.
Bolton's recent league record is, of course, much better than that of Reading. In their last 9 games they've amassed quite an impressive (by Reading standards) 9 points (1.0 ppg) compared to Reading's cracking 8 points from 14 games (0.57 ppg). Bolton's away form is spectacularly awful awful though with just 9 points, 9 goals and 1 win (1-0 at Sheffield United) so far. Their last 4 away games have yielded 1 points (0-0 at Norwich City last time out) and three 2-0 defeats.
Reading's injury problems should have improved slightly from the last game played with Swift and Barrow back in contention. A distinct lack of information might mean that Yann could be back but I'm not really expecting it. Aluko should have recovered from illness.
Bolton will have Karl Henry and Mark Little back after suspension ruled them out of Saturday's home defeat to Preston. In addition they have signed two free agents on short terms contracts to the end of the season. Midfielder Paul Kirchhoff joined after being released by Sunderland last summer and yesterday they completed the signing of former Nigerian international striker Chinedu Obasi who was released by Swedish club AIK Fotboll in January.
The weather should be back in line with normal March expectations having seen winter both arrive and depart in the last week. As a result the attendance should be greatly improved on the 6700 or sothat turned out for the last home disaster, more so as the game will enable fans to give a warm welcome back to Parky, Jem and Adam although lets hope that the home performance encourages fans to get behind the team a la Derby rather than totally dispiriting them again and lead to supporters spending the game chanting "12 Parkinsons" and further displays of camera phone night lighting etc.
James Linington returns to the Madejski for the second time this year. His last three games have seen 1 Reading goal and 10 conceded not to mention the appalling performance against Birmingham.
02 Jan 18 > Reading 0-2 Birmingham City
09 Sep 17 > Reading 0-1 Bristol City
08 Apr 17 > Norwich City 7-1 Reading
24 Sep 16 > Reading 1-0 Huddersfield Town
21 Nov 15 > Reading 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
02 May 15 > Derby County 0-3 Reading
28 Dec 14 > Reading 2-1 Norwich City
21 Nov 14 > Cardiff City 2-1 Reading
12 Aug 14 > Reading 3-1 Newport County (League Cup)
10 Sep 11 > Reading 0-2 Watford
30 Apr 11 > Coventry City 0-0 Reading
22 Jan 11 > Reading 1-1 Hull City
02 May 10 > Reading 4-0 Preston North End
30 Jan 10 > Reading 1-0 Barnsley
Fourteen previous league head to heads played against Bolton Wanderers in Reading. Of those games Reading have won 9, drawn 2 and lost 3 scoring 24 to Bolton's 12
Game to remember. From February 1997.
How to follow the game
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