Reading will attempt to consolidate its position in the top six of the championship against Blackburn on Tuesday. Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts on the midweek match-up.
« The duo have only filled gaps in eight of their respective championship bouts, and both are in the top five for goals per game. » < Reading bounced back from a two-game loss when they took a valuable 1-0 win over championship fighters Rotherham on Saturday at New York Stadium. Michael Morrison's close-range goal when, to the delight of Veljko Paunovic, the Millers couldn't handle the decisive goal of the game in the middle of the first half.
The Royals boss admitted that the win was the toughest game, with which he was confronted as the person responsible for Reading. After the game, the Serb said: « Today’s win gives us an important boost and a chance to generate new momentum. The atmosphere in the dressing room is different. This was probably the most difficult game for me since I became Reading Manager. »
Paunovic made two changes to his team in defense for the game in Rotherham. Andy Yiadom replaced Tom Holmes as right-back and Omar Richards as replacement for Tom McIntyre as left-back. Reading hopes to have Yakou Meite and Lewis Gibson back in the running this week, despite both undergoing a late fitness test ahead of the game at Madjeski Stadium.
Ben Brereton’s goal in the first half helped Blackburn cut their five defeats to finish in the championship with one point against 10-man Coventry on Saturday. The visitors hit the bar within 20 seconds but found themselves back in 27 minutes when Brereton fired a shot home for Rover out of shape at Ewood Park.
Tony Mowbray’s men held their lead until the 50th. Minute when the Sky Blues equalized. And Blackburn, who owned 66% of the ball, had no late win despite Coventry being one man behind in the last eight minutes. Barry Douglas came closest when his dangerous free kick missed everyone but bounced back from the woodwork.
Mowbray was frustrated with his team’s defense for the leveler but suggested after the game that a rebound wasn’t too far away , Rovers should continue to compete. He said, « We weren’t beaten by any team and I didn’t get away from any game because I thought we didn’t deserve any of it. Let’s get on with it, it’s been a frustrating day for us. »
Reading and Blackburn were in Has been involved in some exciting affairs over the past few years, and since they left the Premier League, neither team has prevailed against each other in their 13 league games. The duo have had five wins in this sample since 2013/14, with the Royals returning W3-D1-L2 in the Madjeski Stadium sessions.
Reading’s recent win of 2.546 / 4 was to be welcomed after four out of five championship losses threatened to derail the Royals’ path to the play-offs. The Berkshire team has suffered inconsistencies since late October after a record-breaking start to the season with W9-D5-L11. The hosts returned W5-D0-L7 on home soil in the same order.
Blackburn 3.002 / 1 is also in the middle of an ongoing lean spell. Like Reading, Rovers were hit by key wounds throughout the campaign and have only produced W4-D4-L9s since early December, with Tony Mowbray’s men being particularly arduous on their travels during this time (W2-D2-L6). Rule out the bottom seven and Blackburn has W2-D2-L8 on the road.
Reading and Blackburn have proven to be two of the most observable teams in the second division. The duo have only fired spaces in eight of their respective championship bouts, and both operate in the top 5 for goals per game – the Royals games delivering 2.48 goals per game, with Rovers’ encounters averaging 2.63 goals.
With this in mind, I am happy to be able to support over 2.5 goals on Tuesday at 2.1411 / 10. Veljko Paunovic’s charges have seen a chunky 11/16 (69%) of the games at their Berkshire base score at least three goals, including seven of the last eight. Eight of Blackburn’s nine top seven competitions also paid off for over 2.5 goals.
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