Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Championship clash between Reading and Brentford, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
While the visitors currently occupy second place in the standings, the Royals are just six points adrift of the form team in the division.
Like in their previous games against Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol City, a slow start against Middlesbrough put Brentford at risk of losing their lengthy unbeaten streak in the Championship.
However, the Bees were able to overturn an early deficit at the Riverside Stadium to prevail by a 4-1 scoreline, making it 20 matches without defeat in the second tier.
The victory in the North-East came less than 24 hours after leaders Norwich City had lost out to Swansea City, and two points now separate first and third in the table.
While Thomas Frank will be focused on taking one game at a time, he will have on eye on the bigger picture, particularly with their next opponents having the potential to make it a four-horse race.
Ivan Toney scored two more goals at the weekend, taking his tally to 22 strikes from 27 appearances in the Championship this season.
Lucas Joao has been responsible for netting a significant portion of Reading’s goals with 15 coming from just 21 outings.
Nevertheless, the Royals are recording too many goalless draws, with their third in six matches coming at Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
Each of those stalemates has come away from the Madejski Stadium, but Veljko Paunovic will feel that his players could have achieved more on their travels since the turn of the year.
On a positive note, a seven-game unbeaten run has given Reading an eight-point cushion in the standings, giving them the platform to perform with some freedom when attempting to inflict Brentford’s first league defeat since October.
Reading Championship form: DWWDWD
Reading form (all competitions): WLWDWD
Brentford Championship form: WWDWWW
Brentford form (all competitions): WLDWWW
Paunovic may consider handing a recall to Yakou Meite after his impact as a substitute against Stoke.
However, with the attacker having only recently returned from injury, John Swift may retain his place in the side.
Bryan Mbeumo is pushing for a return to the Brentford XI having marked his return from injury with an assist against Middlesbrough.
Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Holmes, Morrison, McIntyre, Richards; Rinomhota, Laurent; Olise, Swift, Ejaria; Joao
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sorensen, Henry; Jensen, Janelt, Ghoddos; Mbeumo, Toney, Canos
We say: Reading 1-1 Brentford
Both managers will have been relieved to have an extra day of recovery ahead of one of their most important matches of the season. We feel that could play into the favour of the visitors, who should have enough freshness in their legs to earn a share of the spoils.
Top betting tip
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