News and Views

Five Wins All Season: Can The Royals Beat The Drop?

08 February 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have just 16 games to rescue their season and could require as many as 24 points to earn survival if Championship history is to go by.

The Royals find themselves in a real dogfight having picked up just 25 points from 30 games but sit just one point away from safety with a significantly better goal difference.

Bookmakers like 888sport and bet365 are currently tipping Jose Gomes' men for survival, favouring Ipswich, Bolton and Rotherham to be playing League One football next season.

Many UK betting sites with their latest betting offers are pricing Reading at around 8-11 for relegation, with Championship rivals Rotherham priced at 1-2 with bookie bet365.

The club face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this weekend, where they go into the game as 2/1 underdogs with with bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill following two wins on the spin for the South Yorkshire club.

Gomes has won just one game since taking over in late December, but could need to win as many as half the club's remaining fixtures in order to guarantee survival. The Reading manager also finds himself amongst the favourites to be the next Championship manager to be sacked and is priced at 3/1 to face the chop.

History suggests that teams finishing in 21st place average around the 49.2 points mark. Currently, the Royals season form marks them to finish on 38 points, 11 short.

However, as it stands Rotherham, Millwall and Wigan Athletic are also set to fall short on that target, meaning there's every chance Championship football can remain at the Madejski.

There are a number of fixtures that will be integral to this. The club faces both Rotherham and Ipswich in the coming weeks and maximum points will go a long way into securing the club's future in the second tier.

First up for the club is the Millers on February 23. The two sides drew just before Christmas on the day Gomes was appointed Reading manager, and he'll be desperate to get points to close the gap on relegation rivals.

Ipswich away follows the Rotherham game on the opening weekend of March with Wigan, a side just seven points from the club following that, meaning a huge fortnight of football is in store for the club.

Pick up nine points and chances of survival would be well in their favour and would build huge momentum going into the final few months of the season.

It's not going to be an easy ride for the club who are looking to avoid ending up in the third tier of football for the first times since 1989. There are enough struggling teams surrounding them to avoid that, but a record of one win in eight is going to have to be bettered if Gomes' men are going to make it.

Gomes believes it will be tough this weekend for his Reading side, who take on Wednesday in Steve Bruce's first game in charge. He'll be wanting to get off to a good start, but should he pull off a result, it's game on from now until the end of the season.

He said, 'We need to win. If we win, we will get closer to being in a safe position. That's what we hope and what we are trying to do this Saturday.

'And we will put all of our focus on the next game. We cannot split our focus to the next two or three games - we have to put all of our focus on the next game, which is against a good team with an experienced manager. It'll be a tough game for us and we'll make it a tough game for them.'

A lot of fight is required over the coming weeks. Can Gomes pull it off? We certainly hope so.

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