Following their recent three point deduction for fielding an ineligible player, Rotherham’s final two games of the season have become a lot more important. The Millers find themselves in 21st position, only one place above the relegation places and a single point ahead of Millwall with a game in hand. If Rotherham can win one of their final games against Reading or Leeds, then they will be safe for another season in the Championship. If Millwall can win their last game of the season against high-flying Wolves, who are hoping for a late push into the play-offs, then the Millers should still be safe with two draws due to their superior goal difference. Rotherham will, however, be keen to secure their own safety as soon as possible against a poor performing Reading side.
Reading finished their home season at the Madejski on Saturday, where they were defeated 2-0 by Brentford. The fixture extended the Royals’ unwanted goalless run, having failed to find the net for the eleventh time in their last fifteen games at home. Fans who have been willing to travel to Reading’s away games have thankfully not had to endure such poor displays.
On the road, the Royals have managed to score in twelve of their last fifteen Championship away matches. While the record for Reading over these matches has still not been particularly impressive, having won three, drawn four and lost eight, at least it shows that the Royals are capable of finding the net. It does raise the question, however, of why was it so difficult for the home side to score at the Madejski. With two matches away from home all that remains for Reading manager Steve Clarke this season, it is a question that can briefly be put on hold for now. It is a deep concern for all involved going into next season, however, and one that can hopefully be rectified before then.
“I’d like to think that if we do match them, then on the night we’ll have the better players on the field to win the game. There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough, though.”– Reading Centre-Back Alex Pearce
Rotherham have more to fight for, going into Tuesday evening’s game, and subsequently will take the game to Reading in their search for all three points. Last time out, the Millers were able to steal a point from Norwich courtesy of a late Jordan Bowery goal. At the New York Stadium, Rotherham’s form has not been outstanding, but they have consistently been scoring goals. Of their last fifteen home matches, Rotherham have won four, drawn five and lost six. Over these games, they have found the net twenty times. The last time the Millers failed to score at home was back in January when they lost 2-0 to Bournemouth.
The last time the Royals met the Millers at the Madejski, the home side were still capable of scoring goals, and plenty of them. Back in November, Reading finished the game as the victors, winning 3-0. Jamie Mackie scored the first goal of his loan spell to open the scoring, while a second-half Simon Cox brace sealed all three points. Reading have won the majority of the past meetings between the sides, winning eighteen. Fourteen games have ended in a draw, while Rotherham have been able to win nine. Previous statistics would suggest that Reading should be the favourites going into Tuesday evening, but if recent form is anything to go by it will be a tightly fought game.
In terms of the starting lineup, Rotherham are without Frazer Richardson who is absent through injury, and Danny Ward will be available. Manager Steve Evans will have the majority of his squad available for selection going into this important fixture. Steve Clarke will also have a large number of players to choose from, with Pavel Pogrebnyak, Jure Travner and Anton Ferdinand being the most recent absentees.
“This is the biggest game of all, the biggest game ever that the stadium has hosted in its short life time.”– Rotherham Manager Steve Evans
Of the two sides, Rotherham have the greater incentive to perform and get victory. With Reading morale currently low due to recent performances, the end of the season could not come around soon enough. The fans who will have made the journey up north on a week night, however, will be expecting to see goals from the Reading contingent.