When : Saturday 3rd October 2020, 3pm
Where : Madejski Stadium, Reading, RG2 0FL
Capacity : 24,161
Watford at home next. Personally think this is the toughest test the Championship will have to offer any side this season if Watford manage to keep all their current squad together. Add to that the (still) unconvincing home form and you can see the work is cut out before the day of the game even dawns.
On one hand Watford have only scored twice, but on the other hand no goals have been conceded in the league and the couple of goals scored have been sufficient to collect 6 points so this would appear to be a well organised defensive unit that Veljko's Serbian compatriot, Vladimir Ivić, has put together.
Despite the lack of goals the likes of Ismaïla Sarr, Joao Pedro are an immense handful going forward, in addition Gerard Deulofeu is till at the club, though he has not played a part yet, not to mention the right royal pain of Troy Deeney hanging about plus the likes of loanees James Garner and former Reading loanee Glenn Murray to give extra options if things are quite working out. In addition another former Reading loanee, Nathaniel Chalobah, is doing very well in midfield. Of course, with the transfer window still very much open, things could change with Sarr in particular attracting interest from a list of PL clubs as long as your arm.
Only three games into the league season and Reading's injury problems are already starting to stack up. Yiadom and Swift have both left the building for what might be the best part of 3 months each. Joao has picked up yet another injury though a) at least it's not the usual one and b) he may still be available for this game. Right back is now a particular concern with the loss of Araruna, for what may also turn out to be a lengthy period, on top of Yiadom meaning there is no experienced specialist in the squad for that position so either VP has to play someone out of their natural role (eg. Rinomhota) or take a chance on the inexperience of Watson or a bit of both in Tom Holmes.
The transfer window does mean Reading have the opportunity to try and redress that by bringing someone in, and have been linked with Perry Ng of Crewe, but given the protracted saga of just getting a couple of loanees signed up (eg Semedo and Riquelme) I'm not going to hold my breath on that front.
Therefore this is certainly going to be the toughest test of the season so far for Reading and should show just how far the club is away from those teams currently perceived to be the best in the division. If additional cover can't be brought in before Saturday though I think it's going to take one hell of a performance to get something but at least there seems to be a little more confidence and belief now starting to brew about the place and that, in itself, can go a long way to bridging gaps in individual quality.
Mr Gavin Ward
04 Feb 2020 > Cardiff City 3-3 Reading (FA Cup)
22 Apr 2019 > Reading 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
12 Mar 2018 > Reading 0-3 Leeds United
01 Sep 2018 > Reading 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday
25 Aug 2015 > Portsmouth 1-2 Reading (League Cup)
20 Dec 2014 > Reading 0-1 Watford
25 Oct 2014 > Reading 3-0 Blackpool
17 Apr 2012 > Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest
01 Feb 2011 > Cardiff City 2-2 Reading
16 Mar 2010 > Reading 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
11 Aug 2009 > Reading 5-1 Burton Albion (League Cup)
This is another of the "should be but isn't" derbies. Watford is around 40 miles from Reading and the two clubs have been fairly regular opponents down the years with this being the 51st season shared together. Over that period of time you cannot divide the two clubs with the 100 league games played yielding 39 wins to both camps.
As you may expect, the passing years has seen the home team dominant with Watford managing just 8 league wins in Reading from their 50 previous visits and a whopping 30 wins for Reading in that time with 12 games drawn. However, in recent years, Watford have started to get rather better at collecting points with 2 wins and 0 defeats from the last 5 visits
How to follow the game
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