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Preview: Blues v Reading

Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football.

BCFC

Blues welcome Reading to St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Sky Bet Championship match will be the first in charge for new Blues Head Coach Lee Bowyer after he was appointed on Tuesday.

And his first task will be to lift a Blues side from back-to-back defeats, driving them towards a victory that would complete a double over the Royals.

A win in front of the Sky Sports cameras would also serve to, at the very least, maintain the gap between Blues and those inside the relegation zone.

Reading will likewise be eager to take home the maximum after dropping two points away at Nottingham Forest on Saturday as they look to bolster their promotion hopes. They come into the midweek clash with three wins from their last four

History makes Blues the marginal favourites, having beaten the Berkshire club 16 times in their 42 meetings, the most recent of these successes occurring in December at the Madejski Stadium.

THE OPPOSITION:

Reading have surprised many by lasting the pace and with ten league matches left to be played have a cushion between them and seventh-placed Bournemouth as they look to cement their participation in the end of season play-offs.

Meanwhile, with both Swansea and Watford to face before the regular season concludes, it remains plausible that they could gate crash the automatic promotion spots despite sitting eight points short ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

Equipped with the divisions fourth-highest scorer, Lucas Joao, there is an expectation that whether he can add to his 18 goals will have a significant impact on the fortunes of Veljko Paunović’s side between now and May. The Serbian’s team have picked up just four of their 18 wins without the striker either scoring or assisting.

This, however, is not to suggest that his teammate's contributions are futile, and Michael Olise has provided nine assists from midfield, with the Frenchman also hitting the net five times. From defence, former Blue Michael Morrison has chipped in with a quartet of efforts as he also works to protect a goal guarded by Rafael Cabral. The Brazilian stopper, who is an ever-present in the Championship, has recorded 16 clean sheets this term, second only to Swansea City’s Freddie Woodman in the division.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues were beaten at home by Bristol City on Saturday afternoon. Nigel Pearson’s side rode their luck and saw the ball twice hit their goalframe but went into the break ahead thanks to Kasey Palmers solo effort. And on an afternoon when luck was not on Blues’ side, Antoine Semenyo’s block to a Neil Etheridge clearance found the net before Callum O’Dowda pounced to add a third.

Reading left it late to earn a draw against Nottingham Forest over the weekend. Trailing through an unfortunate Tom Holmes own goal, the Royals found a leveller nine minutes from time in the East Midlands when Yakou Meite celebrated his return from injury with a 20-yard strike.

WE MEET AGAIN: 

Reading 1 Blues 2, 09 December 2020

Success away to Paunović’s men made it consecutive wins ahead of the 2020 festive schedule for Blues.

Coming into the game on the back of success at Bristol City, Blues led by two at the break thanks to a ruthless double from Jon Toral.

However, after Meite halved the arrears and Harlee Dean was sent off for a foul in the penalty area, a different side of Blues was required.

The players duly delivered this with Neil Etheridge keeping out Joao’s spot-kick, before the ten men pulled together to see out the final 20 minutes plus added time under mounting Reading pressure.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:

Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) is out through injury.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Blues wins: 16

Draws: 12

Reading: 14

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 09 Dec 2020 – Reading 1 Blues 2

Championship 07 Mar 2020 – Blues 1 Reading 3

Championship 07 Dec 2019 – Reading 2 Blues 3

Championship 05 May 2019 – Reading 0 Blues 0

Championship 23 Oct 2018 – Blues 2 Reading 1

BLUESTV:

Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event with coverage starting at 7.30pm.

Only viewers in selected countries will be able to watch our game against Reading on BluesTV. There is no pay-per-view for this fixture. Further details are available here

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Assistant Referees: Sam Lewis and Nick Greenhalgh

Fourth Official: Daniel Middleton

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