When : Saturday 16th March, 3pm
Where : Bet365 Stadium, Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke On Trent, ST4 4EG
Capacity : 30,089
Away Stand : One side of the Sharp stand behind the south goal
What might I see in the area : mid table obscurity
Stoke. A middle of the country club in the middle of the table. Stoke have totally underperformed this season given the talent they have in their squad. However even an underperforming squad can be more than a match for Reading so as usual this isn’t going to be easy for the misfiring injury devastated squad of Royals.
Stoke’s form is not all that impressive with 2 wins and 5 draws from the last 13 but, as is usual with teams Reading seem to be playing at the moment, they are on an unbeaten run having not lost in the last 5. As part of that run Stoke have kept 4 clean sheets so they are obviously fairly reasonable at being defensively organised.
Sam Clucas is suspended having collected a straight red card and a 3 game ban at QPR last weekend and they have slight worries over Sam Vokes, Benik Afobe and Peter Etebo. As usual all that is the stuff of which Reading can only dream having practically a whole team of first teamers out injured of which Bod is possibly the most likely to be able to make the bench. We can hope Ejaria might have recovered enough to play but other than that I can’t see anyone else being able to put in an appearance unless Kelly has redeemed himself in these last couple of weeks.
And that really is what is going to do for Reading this season. It’s bad enough that the squad isn’t of sufficient quality to maintain comfortable safety without having most of what talent there is constantly receiving treatment and therefore unavailable to play. Continuously now for 2 years it seems that Reading’s injury list has seen a minimum of 4 or 5 first team players on the sidelines for every game which surely is more than just bad luck.
So, not an easy day expected then.
Peter Bankes is up for this one and Reading are still to collect any form of points from the away trips he has handled.
16 Dec 2017 > Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading
25 Feb 2017 > Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0 Reading
21 Jan 2017 > Derby County 3-2 Reading
30 Jan 2016 > Reading 4-0 Walsall (FA Cup)
20 Dec 2015 > Reading 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
08 Aug 2015 > Birmingham City 2-1 Reading
The 22 previous visits to Stoke in the league have brought Reading 6 wins and 4 draws so probably not too bad for northern trek in the scheme of things. Oddly the biggest win there was 4-0 almost exactly 20 years ago however the heaviest defeat was by 5-0, exactly 90 years ago to the day.
How to follow the game
- Get a ticket and travel to the game
- Listen to Radio 5 Live and/or a myriad of other radio stations for score flashes
- Ring/text a mate for updates
- Use an iFollow subscription
- BBC Radio Berkshire (FM : 104.4, 104.1 or 95.4 depending where you are in the area)