When : Wednesday 26th December, 3pm
Where : The Den, London, SE16 3LN
Capacity : 20,146
Away Stand : North Stand (usually the upper tier)
What might I see in the area : Absolutely no intimidation of any kind whatsoever
The season really does start here. About 30 points are needed from the remaining 23 games to give the club a good fighting chance of survival.
And the new broom continues to sweep clean with nothing left of the previous two regimes save for Michael Gilkes and bit of office furniture. New bloke has arrived and is confident that the squad can follow his passing philosophy. It’s unlikely he’ll have much of an instant effect given the suddenness of this game after his appointment and the holiday nature of this part of the season to dump on top of the club’s catalogue of injuries but it will hopefully be enough to instil a fresh new feeling about the season to the playing side.
It really couldn’t be a harder start than a trip to Millwall, the team directly below Reading on goal difference, for what’s likely to be a right battering from a team who will look at Reading and believe they can win despite their form.
Millwall are on a run of 8 games without a win and only 3 points to show from it. They are capable of giving good teams a run for their money as a very late 4-3 defeat at Norwich shows so this is going to be as difficult as any other game.
Millwall have a major doubt over winger Jiri Skalak who is suffering with a bacterial infection while Reading’s continual injury problems persist though there is some improvement with McIntye, Gunter, Meite all possibly able to be involved in some capacity but it’s obviously still a way away from a fit squad and first teams that many fans would be able to select.
Jose Gomes will go straight into a battle and it probably won’t get much more pressurised than what he sees at Millwall. It’s possibly the best way for him to start so he’s under no illusion just how different this league is from anything he’s seen before.
It is also vital that Reading fans give him some slack and support in what he is going to try and do with the club for the duration of the “project” that he has been tasked with. Mr Gomes likes positive attacking passing football (which is what Jaap Stam wanted to do but never quite got the message across) so the basis for the “project” should be there and the players should be all on the same wavelength.
It’s therefore a matter of whether Jose and his new management team can make that final jump with the squad that Jaap never could - and in that respect JG at least has much more coaching and managerial experience than JS.
Then all that’s needed is a fit squad and a good transfer window.
Andy Davies is getting to spend his Boxing Day in SE London to take charge of his first ever away day with Reading
02 Oct 18 > Reading 0-1 Queens Park Rangers
28 Feb 18 > Reading 1-3 Sheffield United
19 Sep 17 > Reading 0-2 Swansea City (LC)
07 Mar 17 > Reading 0-0 Newcastle United
26 Dec 16 > Reading 3-1 Norwich City
29 Oct 16 > Reading 2-0 Nottingham Forest
06 Aug 16 > Reading 1-0 Preston North End
15 Sep 15 > Reading 0-1 Derby County
This will be the 96th league game against Millwall and therefore the 48th time Reading will have trekked across to South East London. Currently it is definitely a case of the home team ruling as Millwall have won more than half of those league games (25) to Reading's tally of just 10. There is also a tendency to concede goals like they're going out of fashion at Millwall with Reading's 38 strikes being well and truly trounced by Millwall's 75 efforts.
How to follow the game
- Get a ticket and travel to The Den
- Listen to Radio 5 Live and/or a myriad of other radio stations for score flashes
- Ring/text a mate for updates
- Use an iFollow subscription
- BBC Radio Berkshire (FM : 104.4, 104.1 or 95.4 depending where you are in the area)