When : Saturday 4th February 2023, 3pm
Where : Madejski Stadium, Reading, RG2 0FL
Capacity : 24,161
It's Watford again already, though this time it's the proper league game which means Watford will field their strongest line up so expect a very different game to the FA Cup fixture.
Watford are 4th in the table, some 12 places and 7 points better off than Reading but recent form hasn't been too brilliant for the Hornets with just 2 wins and a draw from the last 6 league games, the main reason for this slip for the Hertfordshire side though has been an injury crisis of Reading proportions with a great many players in the treatment room. In addition Watford have scored only once in their last 4 away games, but that was the winner at Norwich so don't think it'll be an easier game just because of the injuries abounding everywhere.
Still surviving the injury crisis though is Ismaila Sarr who is attracting great interest from Villa apparently so let's hope he is sold in the next 12 hours. Injury has, though, thankfully shorn the club of leading scorer Joao Pedro but there's Keinan Davis and Vakoun Bayo with 8 goals between them to provide cover and the ex Reading contingent threat is provided though Tom Dele-Bashiru, Ben Hamer and Leandro Bacuna.
In an attempt to bolster their promotion campaign (as well as cover the injuries) Watford have had a busy time in the January window with midfielder Ismail Kone arriving from Canada, defender Ryan Porteous moving from Hibernian and forwards Joao Ferreira from Rio Ave and the regular right royal pain in the ass Britt Assombalonga coming back to the country (and former club) after a brief stay in Turkey. In addition they've added a couple of loans in Matheus Martins (from Udinese) and Henrique Araujo (from Benfica).
Injuries continue to blight both clubs with Reading losing the services of Liam Moore, Ovie Ejaria and having a big doubt over Shane Long while Andy Carroll misses the game through a 1 game ban after being dismissed at Old Trafford. But it's Watford who have the serious issues, last week they added to the injury problems with Serrialta and Ferreira both getting knocks at Middlesbrough to add to Joao Pedro, Tom Cleverly, Tom Dele-Bashiru, Edo Kayembe, Kortney Hause, Imran Souza and Daniel Gosling. The unknown in all this will be Reading's one January loan acquisition - the supposedly highly rated 15m Euro worth midfielder Cesare Casadei. As he is the 6th loan at the club one of Lumley, Hendrick, Fornah, Rahman and Loum will have to be left out of the matchday squad for him to be involved. Hopefully it'll be Rahman but most likely it'll be Fornah.
13 Aug 22 > Rotherham United 4-0 Reading
04 Dec 21 > Reading 1-1 Hull City
18 Sep 21 > Fulham 1-2 Reading
13 Mar 21 > Nottingham Forest 1-1 Reading
22 Jul 20 > Reading 1-4 Swansea City
07 July 20 > Reading 0-0 Huddersfield Town
05 Oct 19 > Bristol City 1-0 Reading
13 Apr 19 > Reading 2-1 Brentford
13 Feb 19 > Reading 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
22 Dec 18 > Reading 0-1 Middlesbrough
14 Apr 18 > Reading 2-2 Sunderland
27 Feb 18 > Nottm Forest 1-1 Reading
11 Dec 17 > Reading 2-2 Cardiff City
23 Sep 17 > Reading 1-1 Hull City
26 Aug 17 > Birmingham City 0-2 Reading
24 Jan 17 > Reading 1-0 Fulham
15 Oct 16 > Queen's Park Rangers 1-1 Reading
15 Mar 16 > Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Reading
23 Jan 16 > Reading 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
19 Sep 15 > Bristol City 0-2 Reading
25 Mar 14 > Reading 1-3 Barnsley
This is another of the "should be but isn't" derbies. Reading v Watford is one of the most played fixtures outside of games between sides in the top division. The two clubs have been at it "hammer and tongs" with each other pretty consistently in all competitions since February 1920, which is now 120 games ago so you'd think there'd the some sort of frission between the two but for whatever reason it's just never caught on - perhaps a sign of games that are largely pretty inoffensive and unmemorable?
Reading have beaten Watford 46 times while Watford have won 49 with the gap in victories largely being down to Reading's league cup deficit against the Hornets.
How to follow the game
- Ticket up and travel
- Listen to Radio 5 Live and/or a myriad of other radio stations for score flashes
- Ring/text a mate for updates
- Use a RoyalsTV subscription
- BBC Radio Berkshire (FM : 104.4, 104.1 or 95.4 depending where you are in the area)