It’s a quick turnover in games for the Royals, who are playing their third game in six days. However, we travel to the Midlands off the back of a late victory against Leeds on Wednesday, but opponents Derby are in good form themselves. Nigel Clough’s side earned a credible 2-2 draw with Bolton on Tuesday night and previously demolishing Millwall 5-1 at the Den. Despite good away form for the Rams, they are yet to win on their home turf this season.
Reading manager Nigel Adkins – ‘Derby are on fire. They are doing great, it’s a great challenge and one we should relish. We’ve all got a vision on how we want to play, but the opposition won’t just sit back and allow you to do it. You’ve got to be competitive, we knew Wednesday would be an energetic encounter, the lads kept going and we all went home happy because we won.’
Derby boss Nigel Clough – ‘Reading have a strong squad and they`ll be tough opponents for us. We`ve been scoring goals at an exceptional rate on our travels and it is now important we transfer that form to Pride Park. Goals have come for us at key times away from home and we know it`s crucial we start to do the same in front of our own fans.’
Derby Team News:
Derby may well be without key midfielder Will Hughes, who picked up a knock in their 2-2 draw with Bolton on Tuesday night. Fellow midfield duo of Jeff Hendrick and James Bailey will also miss out, as well as captain Shaun Barker, who has not played for over a year now, due to a broken leg.
Player to watch: Craig Bryson
It seems that young Will Hughes isn’t the only one catching the eye at the moment, as Bryson has made a flying start to the season. Bryson, who is a tireless, box-to-box midfielder, has already scored four goals this season, including a hat trick against Millwall last week.
Reading Team News:
Reading will definitely be without key midfielder Jem Karacan, who suffered a serious injury in the victory over Leeds on Wednesday night. Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak returns from suspension, but late fitness tests will be given to Nick Blackman and Danny Guthrie, who both picked up knocks against Leeds. New signing Chris Baird will go straight into the squad for the game tomorrow.
Player to watch: Nick Blackman
He has received a lot of criticism this season, but after a decent performance against Leeds, could it be the turning point for Blackman? With Pog failing to take his second chance, it could time for Blackman to step up and be counted.
Derby – 4-3-2-1: Grant, Smith, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace, Hughes, Bryson, Ward, Russell, Martin
Reading – 4-3-3: McCarthy, Kelly, Pearce, Morrison, Bridge, Akpan, Williams, Guthrie, Drenthe, Robson-Kanu, Blackman
This game is a tough one to call, Derby are on good form at the moment, but seem to struggle at home. Reading on the other hand aren’t playing well at the moment, but are still picking points up. I think this has a draw written all over it.
Vital Reading prediction: Derby 1 – 1 Reading
Derby – Leicester (A) – Tues 24th September – League Cup third round
Reading – Birmingham (H) – Sat 28th September – SkyBet Championship