Here We Go Again…

Tuesday night, Reading FC play at the Madejski Stadium against a team close to the relegation places. Sound familiar? The result of such games would once be easily predictable, but recently they have been everything but. Of the last five games played on a Tuesday, Reading have lost three to lower-league opposition in the form of Leeds, Wigan and Huddersfield. They have also only taken a point from Millwall and Bolton. It would seem, therefore, that Tuesday’s are not the best day for Reading to play, especially against weaker teams. 

This time Reading take on Brighton, who are only one place below the Royals in 18th and 19th respectively. The Seagulls will be coming into the game on a high having beaten Derby in their last match at home. They have also only been beaten once in their last five games. In comparison Reading have lost three of their last five games in the Championship. Away from home, however, Brighton have failed to win any of their last four on the road. Reading have also failed to win their last three at home. The statistics don’t look promising for either team going into this one, but this would be the best time to turn things around.

With an FA Cup replay added to an already extensive list of fixtures, and a match at the weekend against promotion candidates Watford coming up, Steve Clarke will probably have to make some changes to the squad that lined up against Bradford on Saturday. While the Reading players have only had a few days to prepare for this game, the Brighton players have been rested for a week; one benefit of not having a cup run. One change that Clarke may have to make is to take Alex Pearce out of the starting lineup. Having suffered from a nasty broken nose in the last match, it would be a risk fielding him against Brighton. The obvious replacement for him would be young Jake Cooper, who has found himself on the bench more often than not this season. His height would also be beneficial to the team in set plays, both attacking and defensive, especially with the likes of defender and Brighton top-scorer Lewis Dunk in the opposition lineup. It will simply depend on whether Clarke is happy with fielding two youngsters in the centre-back positions. Simon Cox, Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter were all on the bench in the last match so are the other logical changes that Clarke would make.

If Reading show the same hunger that they did in their game against Bradford, they have every chance of coming out of the game today with a win. Steve Clarke has said on numerous occasions that the Championship is the priority, but results have simply not been going our way. Tonight is the night for Reading fans to get behind the team once again and make home advantage count. 


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