When : Wednesday 21st August, 7.45pm
Where : The Hawthorns, Halfords Lane, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4LF
Away Stand : One side of the Smethwick End
What might I see in the area : Birmingham
This game is going to be a yardstick. The first of the season. Chances are that if you finish above WBA in the league then you will be promoted or at least be getting home advantage in the 2nd leg of the playoffs. So this is probably going to be as hard as it gets at this level of football this season.
After the Cardiff game the team is at least going in with confidence and belief but that is from just one game played albeit against the supposed best of last year's relegated trio. As we know one swallow doesn't make a summer so no one should be getting carried away but a great result for Reading at the Hawthorns and there could be real reason to for a change of mindset.
WBA are top class. They've strengthened well in the summer, under new boss Slaven Bilic, with the likes of Kenneth Zohore, Charlie Austin, Semi Ajayi and Romaine Sawyers not to mention some useful loans like West Ham's Grady Diangana. Thus far WBA are joint top with Leeds, Swansea, Millwall and Charlton on 7 points but failed to win their one previous home game (1-1 v Millwall) so perhaps there will be a chance for Reading to surprise.
Reading have now climbed to the heady heights of 17th place, the highest they have ever been with Gomes in charge. Injures are still, touchwood, negligible with Blackett nearing being more of a doubt than definitely out. WBA have a doubt over former Reading player Hal Robson-Kanu while Ahmed Hegazi will definitely miss the game.
Given the Cardiff performance one would expect no line up changes but then perhaps there might be a little bit of squad rotation just to keep a little freshness about the place or perhaps there might be something in the way WBA set up that means JG want to change the system or perhaps everyone will go down injured or something. Certainly could do with developing some form of stability and understanding amongst the first team though so let's hope for the former though who will actually care as long as the result is a good one.
And once again it's a chance for Reading to change the woefully wretched run of 2 wins from 32 away midweek evening league games stretching back to 2014.
Lastly, the evening's events should be able to be followed on the old red button for those with SKY subscription.
Peter Bankes is back but at least his last away game with Reading finally earned a point for the club at the 5th attempt.
16 Mar 2019 > Stoke City 0-0 Reading
16 Dec 2017 > Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading
25 Feb 2017 > Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0 Reading
21 Jan 2017 > Derby County 3-2 Reading
30 Jan 2016 > Reading 4-0 Walsall (FA Cup)
20 Dec 2015 > Reading 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
08 Aug 2015 > Birmingham City 2-1 Reading
This will be the 17th visit to The Hawthorns for a league game and it’s a right tale of miserable woe with a catalogue of defeat after defeat stretching all the way back to the 1920s.
Reading have managed to produce an incredible 13 defeats from their 16 previous league visits with the only sojourn being a couple of successive wins back in the mid 1980s - of all times. Consequently the goal difference is a bit cr@p really with 10 goals scored and 34 conceded.
How to follow the game
- Get a ticket and travel all the way up north
- 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)
- Red button
- Watch it down the pub