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Opposition report: Reading

Blues are looking to make it a league double over the Royals.

BCFC

A closer look at this evening's visitors to St. Andrew's...

FORM GUIDE:

The Royals were last in action on Saturday where they were held to a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest. The Royals had to rally, with Yakou Meite marking his return from injury with a late equaliser

In truth, the Royals had enough opportunities to win the game but they certainly took their chances in the three games prior, as they beat Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn and Rotherham, without conceding.

Defeats to Wycombe and Middlesbrough before that do show some inconsistency in the Royals ranks but they're a team certainly pushing for the play-offs. Ahead of tonight's game, they sit 5th in the Sky Bet Championship table. 

Overall, Reading have won 18 games this season, drawing seven and losing 11.

IN THE DUGOUT:

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic has led a colourful footballing existence which began in his home-town of Strumica in Yugoslavia (now North Macedonia). Spells across Europe, Russia and America followed, before Paunoivic ended up in Berkshire with the Royals. 

At the beginning of his managerial career, Paunovic worked his way through the Serbian youth teams, leading the countries' youth teams for three years. He began with the U18s and finished with the U20s, whom he led to the nation's first international triumph when they won the World Cup in 2015.

Veljko was appointed in August last year after a four-year spell with American outfit Chicago Fire. 

ONE TO WATCH:

With 18 league goals this campaign, Lucas João has been the man firing Reading towards the play-offs. Add to that three goals in cup competitions and it's the Portuguese forwards' best haul since he went pro with hometown outfit Nacional in 2012. 

Only Ivan Toney, Adam Armstrong and Teemu Pukki have scored more league goals than João since the season resumed.

The goals have somewhat dried up in recent weeks though, the forward has bagged just once in his last six appearances. 

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues' visit to Berkshire in December ended in a 2-1 win, despite a second-half red card being shown to Harlee Dean. Neil Etheridge saved Lucas João's penalty from the resulting foul. 

But it was an evening to remember for one man in particular, Jon Toral firing in two goals in seven first-half minutes to lead Blues to victory. 

The win in Berkshire is the only game this season Blues have played in-front of supporters, 2,000 of whom watched on that evening at the Madejski Stadium. 

PREVIOUS KNOCKINGS: 

Blues and Reading first met in 1986 in the second division, drawing 2-2, despite both sides being formed over 100 years before that.

Since then, 41 games have been played between the two sides with Blues just edging the head-to-head. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

Reading hold a couple of impressive football league records. 

The first marks a run of wins put together at the start of a season back in 1985, when the Royals won 13 on the spin at the beginning of the new season. They went on to earn promotion that campaign. 

More recently, Reading set a record for the number of points gained in a professional league season with 106 points amassed in the 2005-06 Championship campaign. They were ultimately promoted that year as well. 

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