“We go into the game with back-to-back wins. If we can make it a third win in a row that would be amazing. But we have to put a lot of work in.”
– Reading Midfielder Danny Williams
“They have an obviously very Dutch mentality in the way they move the ball and try to play. Some of their possession stats in their early games are testament to that. I think one was around 70 per cent, so they really want to dominate the ball- and we are going to have to be mindful of that.”
– Birmingham City Manager Gary Rowett
“Birmingham have got a quality team as well. They have got good players and they have got pace up front. They sometimes play direct as well, but if you give them space they also try to play possession football as well.”
– Reading Manager Jaap Stam
Reading will be looking to extend their winning run in all competitions to four games as they take on Birmingham City on Tuesday evening in the Championship.
The Royals currently find themselves in eleventh position in the league following a hard fought win against Ipswich Town. Reading took the lead in the dying seconds of the first half through a Garath McCleary penalty. Ipswich went on to win a penalty of their own in the second which was dispatched by Brett Pitman. While it looked like both sides would secure a point, a last minute Danny Williams penalty snatched all three points for the Berkshire side.
Birmingham, meanwhile, are currently fourth in the league despite only having one more point than the Royals. Last time out, the Blues were able to secure a 1-0 away win against Fulham with a Clayton Donaldson penalty being the difference. It has been a positive start to the campaign for Gary Rowett and his side and they will be keen to extend their winning run to three games in a row.
If past omens are anything to go by, then Birmingham fans will be confident of a victory at the Madejski. Reading have lost all of the last four league meetings with the Blues and have shipped eleven goals in the process. Birmingham have also managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last two league visits to the Madejski.
In terms of lineup, the major boost to the Jaap Stam and the Royals will be the return of John Swift following his hamstring injury. The midfielder is increasingly becoming a key man for Reading and as a result will be back in contention for a starting position. Reading’s striker concerns continue with Yakou Meite and Deniss Rakels both still sidelined with ankle injuries.
Rowett’s Birmingham, meanwhile, have no new injury concerns going into Tuesday’s game. Jack Storer serves the last game of his suspension and Rhoys Wiggins’ debut is still on hold as he is not up to fitness.
After the booing that the Reading team was subjected to by a handful of their own fans against Ipswich, and the subsequent comments from Stam about the new style of play, it will be interesting to see the reaction on Tuesday evening. Birmingham will be a tough opponent for the Royals and patience will be subsequently key.
That being said as the games go on, the Reading side will be growing in confidence and belief in the system they are playing. It is still early in the season and, despite statistics favouring the away side, the win is there for the taking for either side.