When : Saturday 12th September 2020, 3pm
Where : Pride Park Stadium, Derby, DE24 8XL
All ready are we? Another season of god knows what to expect ahead, which is a big part of the underlying issues at Reading. Just when the club looked to finally be getting a little bit of stability behind the scenes and some sort of grip on the playing side the owners decide to change everything and set it all back into the realms of the unknown.
First there’s a manager that is totally anonymous to nearly everyone in the country and would appear to have no knowledge or understanding of League foitball in England - but apparently is really good at developing the “kids”. Then there’s the additional musical chairs behind the scenes moving Nigel Howe away from the CEO role and bringing another gentleman who currently none of us know nor have any clue as to what his experience may be in running a football club.
With all that it’s no wonder supporter expectation is probably more along the lines of dread as the squad was already under-achieving, though showing signs of promise, under a more experienced manager but then what can you do but get behind everyone and just hope that some sort of magic formula has been found.
As to the game, well it’s back to Pride Park for the second time within 90 days to face Wayne Rooney and friends for the right to claim 3 points. Reading have somewhat of a revenge mission to contemplate having been turned over by 2 to 1 at the Madejski on the opening day a little over 2 years ago and also in the opening day fixture at Pride Park back in 2002 when the club went down by 3 to nothing.
Over the close season Derby have extended former Royal George Evans’ contract, brought in David Marshall (keeper from Wigan) and re-signed Matt Clarke (defender) on season long loan from Brighton. The club are also wanting to add an attacking midfielder and striker (Billy Sharpe is being touted) to their ranks and this may well happen before Saturday’s game. Derby have sold Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle to Sheffield United for a combined fee of around £11million and may also get a large sell-on windfall from Watford if Will Hughes is sold to (currently) Spurs so money doesn’t look to be too much of a problem this summer.
At Reading transfers are in a much lower key. Prize sellable assets we all thought would have gone are still about the place with the owners currently seeming completely steadfast in their refusal to sell. If any sales are to be made it would seem that it’s the likes of Jordan Holsgrove, Marc McNulty, Tennai Watson, Ryan East and maybe Sam Walker that will be the ones departing.
On the incoming front Josh Laurent will be expected to make his league debut while loan deals are currently looking to be struck for Rodrigo Riquelme Reche, Ian Maatsen and maybe Pedro Mendes. And no doubt there will be a couple of others that come out of the blue to surprise us all before the window closes.
Out of interest, in that opening day game v Derby a couple of years ago the starting XI was; Mannone, Richards, McShane, Ilori, Yiadom, Barrow, Kelly, Meyler, Aluko, Swift, Bodvarsson. Of that team only 3 are still at the club although all 3 would be expected to start on Saturday.
So give the new manager a chance, get behind the team and look forward to the season.
The name’s Bond, Darren Bond.
11 Jul 20 > Charlton Athletic 0-1 Reading
14 Jan 20 > Blackpool 0-2 Reading (FA Cup)
26 Nov 19 > Reading 0-1 Leeds United
10 Nov 18 > Reading 2-2 Ipswich Town
15 Sep 18 > Preston North End 2-3 Reading
03 Apr 18 > Aston Villa 3-0 Reading
20 Jan 17 > Reading 0-1 Brentford
30 Nov 17 > Reading 3-0 Barnsley
11 Feb 17 > Reading 0-0 Barnsley
13 Aug 16 > Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Reading
14 Mar 15 > Watford 4-1 Reading
30 Aug 14 > Middlesbrough 0-1 Reading
Reading have largely had the upper hand in games against Derby registering almost twice as many wins (24) in all competitions.
In the league this game will be the 43rd time the two sides have met with all games having been played since 1984 – a drab 0-0 at Elm Park (so, on average, it's been roughly one game a year since then and just goes to show how the once mighty have fallen over the last 4 decades). The return from the 21 previous league trips to Derby is 9 wins, 3 draws and 9 defeats which is really rather good when you consider that Derby have always been a fairly decent top two division team.
How to follow 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 the iFollow subscription
- BBC Radio Berkshire (FM : 104.4, 104.1 or 95.4 depending where you are in the area)