Reading Back At Madejski To Take On Tractor Boys

Following the international break, focus returns to the league up and down the country. For Reading, this means a return to the Madejski Stadium (retaining its name at least for now) to face a high-flying Ipswich Town.

Last time out, Reading’s enthusiastic Championship performances were finally rewarded with a victory, defeating Brentford 3-1 away from home. Goals came courtesy of an in-form Nick Blackman with a brace and Orlando Sa, who scored his first goal for his new club. If Reading are to make it two victories in a row then the newly bolstered team will have to continue their goal-scoring away run back at home. It must be said, however, that the home side are currently unbeaten in six matches in all competitions; A pleasing statistic even if half of those were draws.

Ipswich, meanwhile, have had a pretty impressive start to the season which has seen them currently move up to third in the Championship table. In their last game before the international break, however, they were defeated at home to Brighton in a game that ultimately ended 3-2. Ipswich have only had a couple of away games in the Championship this far but have managed to score twice on both occasions. It is clear that the side are capable of scoring away from home so it is up to Reading to simply score more.

The equivalent fixture last season, back when Reading were scoring at the Madejski, saw the home side take all three points in a 1-0 victory. The reverse fixture also ended 1-0 to the Royals so Ipswich will be out for revenge this time out. The goals came courtesy of Jake Taylor, who scored his first goal for Reading, and Jamie Mackie. If past statistics offer any form of influence on Friday’s proceedings, then it doesn’t look promising for the away side. Ipswich have lost seven of the eight previous meetings in the Championship against Reading so home fans will be hoping for more of the same this time around.

“When I look at the squad now, when I look at the creativity, I think it’s a team which should create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals.”- Reading Manager Steve Clarke

In terms of the Reading starting line-up, Steve Clarke has an abundance of new options available to him for the season courtesy of the transfer window. At such an early stage in their Reading careers, however, it is yet to be seen whether their fitness is up to a standard in order for them to get their debut against Ipswich. It is not only the fitness of the new arrivals that will need to be assessed. A number of Reading’s players have been representing their countries abroad and only returned in the last few days.

In his most recent press conference, Clarke alluded to there being one debutant on Friday evening. Many will be hoping that this is Matej Vydra, someone that fans are particularly excited to see in a Reading shirt. It will be interesting to see who lines up in the attacking positions for the side, however, with Blackman being one of the stand-out performers so far in the season. The Reading manager will also be hoping that captain Paul McShane makes a recovery from the injury that prevented him playing for Ireland over the past week.

In terms of the Ipswich line-up, strikers Freddie Sears and David Mcgoldrick will be hoping to add more goals to their tallies. An absence at the other end of the pitch in the form of centre-back Christophe Berra has been costing the side in recent times. On both occasions that the Scotsman has been missing from the squad so far this season, either through suspension or injury, Ipswich have dropped points. Due to a hamstring injury sustained in training towards the end of August, Berra was rumoured to be sidelined for around a month but is apparently fit for Friday’s game. Daryl Murphy has also recovered from his calf problem while Ipswich may also hand full debuts to new signings Tommy Oar and Piotr Malarczyk, the latter who featured as a substitute against Brighton. Luke Hyam and Luke Varney remain the long-term absences for the side.

As Clarke has said in a recent press conference, there is now no excuse for Reading not to score and create goals on a regular basis this season. Reading fans have not seen a goal a goal from their team at the Madejski since Pavel Pogrebnyak netted in a 1-1 draw against Cardiff back in April. Five months down the line, loyal home fans have forgotten what scoring a goal feels like. While this may actually be a blessing in disguise considering the absence of the goal music, I’m sure the majority will be happy for it to rear its ugly head once more if it meant Reading were back in the goal-scoring business. Based on the current status of the squad it surely would not be classed as optimism to expect a fair few goals on Friday evening. With many fans hoping for a play-off spot come the end of the season, there is no better time to stop the Madejski goal-scoring curse against a team that they are fully capable of beating.

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