Reading vs Blues; the preview.Leave a comment
January 2, 2018 by Kane Styles.
Blues visit The Madejski Stadium looking to achieve back-to-back victories for the first time since winning the final two games of last season.
After beating Leeds United 1-0 on Saturday, Blues must ensure they build on that crucial result. A defeat tonight would leave Steve Cotterill’s side four points adrift whereas a win could leave Blues just a point off 21st placed Hull City.
The performance against Leeds was an encouraging one. Defensively, Blues were fantastic. Harlee Dean, who was handed the captaincy, flourished in the role and didn’t look in a spot of bother all afternoon. In the absence of Michael Morrison, Blues look a more organised and energetic side. David Davis arguably had his best game all season. He looked like he was back to his best, Davis broke up play, drove the team forward and looked comfortable in possession. Hopefully last season’s player of the year can kick on now.
Like Davis, Sam Gallagher put in a tremendous shift. His desire to chase and close down play was evident, it’s a shame his showing wasn’t rewarded with a goal, it would have been his third in as many games.
The effort and desire was obvious to see, but Cotterill must ensure he strengthens his side this month. Blues lack a player who can carve open a defence, Jota has undoubted qualities however being on the wing often leaves him isolated in this side. I think the team would benefit more if Jota was used in the number 10 role rather than out wide.
Focusing on the trip to Jaap Stam’s Reading, Blues are unbeaten in their last three trips to Berkshire, winning twice and drawing once.
Jaap Stam is under increasing pressure, his side haven’t won in five games, but they managed to pick up a point at Barnsley on Saturday.
The Royals may be without Liam Kelly, who has missed the previous two outings through injury. Former Wolves striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson could start, he scored against Blues in August in the reverse fixture.
Steve Cotterill is expected to name an unchanged side after the Leeds victory. The only possible change could come on the wing, Jeremie Boga may make way for Jota. Carl Jenkinson and Che Adams will both miss out.
Blues’ next game is in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, at home to Burton Albion. Multiple changes are expected.