News and Views

Last Home Game - A Must Win For Brentford

24 April 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's final home game of the season can't come quick enough for some after a succession of poor home results. Luckily, for those who are looking forward to a break from below average scorelines at the Madejski, tomorrow wraps up the home campaign as Brentford visit the Madejski. It's another meaningless game for Reading in terms of the League table but it's of massive importance to the visitors. A win for Brentford, three points away from 6th place, would still see them in the frame for a play-off finish on the last day of the season next weekend. Brentford will be bringing a big away following desperately hoping for a vital three points. The bookmakers have Brentford as firm favourites for an away win.

The Reading sides of the stadium are also expected to be pretty full as it is the final home fixture - although our ambitions are set much lower than Brentfords. A goal for Reading would seem an acheivement after going three consecutive home league games without scoring. Our last league goal was four matches ago and that was an own goal away at already relegated Blackpool. The last league goal we scored ourselves was a Pogrebnyak effort five league games ago when we drew 1-1 at home with Cardiff. The only bright spot over the entire last month was our narrow 1-2 defeat to Arsenal - and of course we did actually manage a goal ourselves when McCleary scored the equaliser that forced extra time at Wembley. Reading have now gone 7 games without a win and with three games left to play, fans are thinking that it's likely Reading might not win a game before the season finishes. We have picked up a few draws - and that would do no favours to Brentford who need the win.

Steve Clarke has suggested he will field a strong side as it is the right thing to do with the result having an impact on the play-offs. That won't stop him making a few more changes alongside his core team. Excluding the FA Cup fixtures, Clarke seems to have spent nearly all his time in charge tinkering with the side and often making dramatic changes game to game. He now has three final league matches to see who he would like to retain and who might be allowed to leave the club in the summer. Everyone expects big changes this summer in response to such a poor showing since Clarke took over from Adkins.

Speaking this week Clarke acknowledged the need for change after Reading's worst season in recent history: "It's a club that has been disappointed, disappointed, disappointed three seasons in a row. It's obvious to me coming into the club there has to be change. That is obvious to most people around the club that there has to be change but change has to be done correctly and in the right manner." Clarke's analysis is obviously true, but Clarke has been at the club long enough already to know the squad and the honeymoon period is well and truly over already. The FA Cup run has salvaged some interest in this season but the league campaign went even further backwards after Clarke arrived.

Nathan Ake has returned to Chelsea at the end of his one month loan, so Reading will have to make a change at left back. That will signal other changes across the side. It will be interesting to see who features up front for Reading with top scorer Cox out of favour, and Pogrebnyak missing from Wednesday's line-up. Young striker Novakovich got nine minutes at the end on Wednesday. Perhaps he should be given a start to see what he can do. Chalobah has been excellent for Reading, but it seems pointless persisting with loan signings that won't be available for selection next season. If Clarke can drop Chalobah and Appiah in favour of young players that will be in the squad next season it will be only a good thing. It would be great if he can continue his squad experiments with Reading academy products and still field a strong side that aims to beat Brentford.

Betting Odds

  • Reading Win: 5/2
  • Brentford Win: 21/20 (Favourites)
  • Draw: 5/2

Reading and Brentford - Head to head record (since August 1994)
Games Between Reading and Brentford 7
Reading Wins 3
Brentford Wins 2
Draws 2
Reading Goals 11
Brentford Goals 8
Average Goals Per Game 2.71

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