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Derby Huge Favourites To Inflict Another Defeat

01 May 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading will be hoping to avoid a bottom four finish this weekend as the Championship season ends. The Royals wrap up a disappointing season with an away trip to Derby County as they aim to avoid a tenth consecutive game without a win. The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 2 as a win or draw for Derby will secure their play-off position finish. The likelihood of Reading winning is remote to say the least and bookmakers have a Reading win as a huge 8/1. Derby, obviously clear favourites for an easy win, are 4/11. Should Reading lose then they could be overtaken by Brighton if they get at least a point at Middlesbrough and Rotherham if they win at Leeds. Reading are already at the lowest they have been all season in the Championship table but there is still potential for a disappointing season to get marginally worse before the summer break.

Steve Clarke will again feel obliged to field what he considers to be a strong side, despite the irrelevance of the game to Reading, and the almost certain outcome of another defeat. It is the last chance to see some of his squad in action before out of contract players leave and the club try and move on other players. It may already be too late for some of the squad to prove a point to the manager. Clarke will keep the same core of the side that lost 1-2 to Rotherham on Tuesday night, but will again make a few changes. Derby of course need to perform despite their weak opposition and will not be resting players ahead of their expected play-off appearance.

Reading's recent record against Derby wasn't too bad until this season. Over the last 20 years, 29 meetings have seen Reading pick up 18 wins over the Rams and score 52 goals. This season we've already played them three times - the FA Cup win against ten men was one of our better showings this season. The other two games in League and League Cup have seen Reading lose 0-3 and 0-2. A bet of another 0-something wouldn't be a bad move.

Meanwhile, with Reading's season already effectively finished weeks ago, the focus is on preparing the squad for next season. The club have offered new contracts to Adam Federici, Alex Pearce and Jem Karacan in the hope of retaining their services for next season. One player that Steve Clarke has already confirmed will not be getting a new contract offer is Ryan Edwards. Edwards was expected to be the next big thing in pre-season last summer when he featured in plenty of games and attracted a lot of attention. However he failed to become part of either Adkins or Clarke's first team squad and he will now need to find a new club.

Other players that are expected to leave the club this summer include Zat Knight and Jure Travner who arrived on short term contracts this season and failed to establish themselves in the side. Despite his FA Cup winning goal against Derby, who Reading face this weekend, Yakubu hasn't done enough to suggest he will be offered a new contract for next season either. The single goal is the only return from 11 appearances this season. Chalobah and Appiah will return to their parent clubs and there seems no chance of them returning to play for Reading. A big question mark remains over the services of season-loan player Jamie Mackie. Mackie has clearly loved his time at Reading, and considers himself a "Reading player" and he is also very popular with the fans - but will the club be able to secure his services from Nottingham Forest.

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