When : Sunday 24th January 2021, 12.30pm
Where : Deepdale, Preston, PR1 6RU
Capacity : 23,404
It's a Sunday so it must be a trip to Preston. Yes it's the second year in succession Reading wend their weary way up north on a Sunday for what I believe is their second longest away trip of the season. Unlike last seasons "Christmas" fixture though, this is on a Sunday for the footballing pleasure of one and all via Sky. Reading slightly improved their Sky win ratio in midweek with it now being up to a whopping 5 wins from the last 21 games on the box.
Preston North End aren't quite the force they were last season and are having a rather odd season. To begin with they couldn't stop winning away from home while also not being able to get a point for love nor money at home. Now things have settled down to a more even inconsistency which has left them mid table too good to go down but currently not quite with it enough to reach for the play offs.
To further their rather odd season, PNE supporters may find themselves finishing the season with a team rather different from that which started it. While the likes of Tom Barkhuizen, Paul Huntington and Scott Sinclair will still be there, injuries have done for Billy Bodin, Declan Rudd and Patrick Bauer on top of that striker Jayden Stockley and defender Ben Davies are being linked with a move away in this transfer window plus Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson are both out of contract in the summer.
So as to cover all this possible activity Preston have already been very busy in the transfer market by bringing in midfielder Jayson Molumby from Brighton, goalkeeper Danny Iverson from Leicester and striker Ched Evans from Fleetwood all on loan and signing the very highly rated midfielder Ben Wightman from Doncaster on a permanent deal in addition to this Luton defender Sonny Bradley is attracting Alex Neil's attention.
However all this upheaval will hopefully make Preston a even more erratic over the January period but it should be stressed that that won't make them any less dangerous, particularly that perennial thorn in Reading's side - Preston's leading scorer, Scott Sinclair. Form wise Preston have won 5 and lost 3 of their last 8 league games plus have been dumped out of the FA Cup by 4-1 at Wycombe but given the presence of the likes of the aforementioned Sinclair and Barkhuizen Reading will need to be very organised and show great concentration to give themselves the best chance of 3 points.
Just as we all thought the injury tunnel was coming to an end we all learn Michael Olise is likely to be out for what the club initially described as a “long time” with a shoulder injury. A scan and consultation with a specialist are due some point today which should help give a bit more clarity, but whether that consultation brings good news or not Olise will not feature in the team at Deepdale. Well at least that means he will still be a Reading player at the end of the season!
On the upside Lewis Gibson may well be back on the bench on Sunday, Meite a week later plus Yiadom the game after that. Moore might make the Bournemouth game but more likely he’ll be back in contention at Stoke.
16 Dec 20 > Reading 1-2 Norwich City
26 Feb 20 > Reading 0-3 Wigan Athletic
01 Jan 20 > Fulham 1-2 Reading
02 Mar 19 > Ipswich Town 1-2 Reading
02 Feb 19 > Reading 0-0 Aston Villa
29 Sep 18 > Brentford 2-2 Reading
03 Feb 18 > Reading 0-2 Millwall
22 Apr 17 > Nottingham Forest 3-2 Reading
17 Mar 17 > Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Reading
04 Feb 17 > Ipswich Town 2-2 Reading
13 Dec 16 > Leeds United 2-0 Reading
02 Apr 16 > Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Reading
12 Dec 15 > Preston North End 1-0 Reading
07 Apr 15 > Blackpool 1-1 Reading
23 Nov 13 > Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Reading
14 Feb 12 > Derby County 0-1 Reading
It took 9 visits to Deepdale to get a first win and there have only been 6 for Reading in the total 29 league games played there to date. In that time Preston have managed 18 home victories very much setting a low expectation for Reading in this fixture. So that’s now one home victory for every goal Preston scored in that 18-0 cup game back in the 1890s. Still Reading managed a bit of a miracle result there last season so anything should possible....
How to follow the game
- SKY Sports
- 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 (audio only)
- BBC Radio Berkshire (FM : 104.4, 104.1 or 95.4 depending where you are in the area)