Happy Friday everyone and welcome back to another Friday preview of this weekends action. Tomorrow we face Bristol city following another week of poisonous reaction amongst supporters across social media. With injuries ruling out arguably three of our most important players this year – Bodvardsson, Yiadom and Eztolahi Paul Clement already has a number of headaches going into the game. Amongst fans there really is a strange mood at the moment which I know I share. There is first and foremost the understandable anger at home the club is being run under Ron Gourlay, which I won’t go into because I think everyone is aware of the shambles going on at the top and repeating it would be a bit of a laborious and unnecessary endeavour. However, the other emotion seems to be a resignation. The team have truly sucked the optimism out of fans. The lack of enthusiasm, intensity and excitement within the team has now settled in amongst supporters. At the end of Stam’s tenure, the atmosphere was toxic. Now however, the atmosphere is more of a set of fans who’re resigned to defeat after defeat and the seemingly inevitable relegation come May next year.
Bristol City are the side coming to the Royal County this weekend on the back of an home defeat to the hands of Stoke City last weekend. Despite looking up rather than down and sitting in a promising 11th position, the Robins find themselves in an inconsistent run of form, with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats in the last six. A team that typically do not give up many chances, Reading will need to take their opportunities should they hope to get anything from this game. Now that in itself isn’t the most ludicrous of suggestions, with the victory against Millwall demonstrating our ability to smash and grab.
Goals to seem to be the main issue restricting the Robins for really making a charge towards the top of the table. In fact, we have actually managed to score one goal more than the visitors have so far this campaign. The main threat going forward for the visitors will be former Derby County man Andi Weimann, who has managed 5 goals this season and will definitely fancy his chances against a Reading defence who have looked about as structurally solid as soggy Weetabix at points this season. It is midfield where Bristol City look the most impressive. With Marley Watkins, Marlon Pack, Josh Brownhill and Callum O’Dowda, the Robins have a good blend of attacking prowess and defensive rigidity which has led to a very solid defensive record this year, alongside a settled back line. Don’t be surprised tp see the game being won or lost in the middle of the park, which is great news for us – especially with Eztolahi out. We have no one who can break up play in the middle of the park, we have an incredibly lightweight midfield which I expect to be overran several times over the course of the 90 minutes on the weekend.
Under the stewardship of Lee Johnson, Bristol City may not catch too many people’s attention, but they have something that I would give an awful lot for right now – consistency. 54 wins and 52 defeats during his time in charge isn’t the most eye-catching of statistics, but it has offered Bristol City something to build on having been relegated to the third tier a few seasons ago.
Prediction time. Could a defeat be the final nail in the coffin for Paul Clement’s dismal spell as the manager? Well, as you may well have come to expect by now a good game has been spoken by the manager in the build up but I’m predicting with our injuries and all round dismal performances even with a team at full strength we’ll taste defeat again. 2-0 Bristol City.