MX23RW : Saturday, September 18 14:32:30| >> :600:111105:111105:
Oct 17, 2015 at 3pm UK at Madejski Stadium
CharltonCharlton Athletic
Blackman (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Reading vs. Charlton Athletic

Sports Mole previews the Championship match between in-form Reading and struggling Charlton Athletic at the Madejski Stadium.

Two sides that headed into the international break in contrasting form go head to head at the Madejski Stadium this weekend when Reading host Charlton Athletic.

The visitors have not won since August, while the Royals have lost just once in their last six outings, leaving them just outside the automatic promotion places.


Reading players celebrate during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Middlesbrough at Madejski Stadium on October 3, 2015© Getty Images

Reading should be returning from their two-week break in a confident mood, having beaten in-form Middlesbrough 2-0 in their last outing, leaving them just two points behind Aitor Karanka's side.

A run of five wins from their last six matches, as well as just one defeat since the opening day of the season, leaves Reading third in the table ahead of this weekend's fixtures.

This weekend's hosts have one of the best defensive records in the division, having conceded seven goals and kept four clean sheets so far this season - the same figures as Derby County, Hull City and Middlesbrough.

Only three clubs have scored more goals than Reading in the second tier this campaign, with Nick Blackman netting seven of their 16 goals from their opening 10 fixtures. Blackman has nine in all competitions this season, making him the club's top scorer.

Blackman's impressive form in front of goal, as well as the team's results, earned the striker and Steve Clarke nominations for last month's Championship Player and Manager of the Month awards, although they missed out to Jordan Rhodes and Karanka respectively.

Despite not playing over the international period, it has still been a busy couple of weeks for Clarke's side, with young defender Jake Cooper penning a contract extension to keep him at the Madejski until 2018, just a couple of weeks after Dominic Samuel extended his stay, showing the club's intent to keep hold of their up and coming players.

Recent form: WWLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLWW

Charlton Athletic

Tony Watt of Charlton Athletic celebrates scoring a goal during the Capital One Cup First Round match between Charlton Athletic v Dagenham & Redbridge at The Valley on August 11, 2015© Getty Images

Charlton Athletic made a strong start to the season, with two wins and two draws from their opening four outings, but it has been a struggle since then, with no wins from the Addicks' last six matches in the Championship.

Guy Luzon's side did pick up a point just before the international break though, coming from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw with Fulham, with Jordan Cousins netting the equaliser deep in stoppage time.

The manager was critical of his players after they let a lead slip in a loss to Cardiff City earlier this month, but insisted that the team deserved three points from their draw with Fulham.

The team's struggles have left them 17th in the table ahead of this fixture, just two points clear of the relegation zone. Depending on the results of the teams below them, Charlton could find themselves in the bottom three if they lose again this weekend.

Like Reading, Charlton have had a busy spell in the office over the last couple of weeks, handing contract extensions to Morgan Fox and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, but Harry Lennon has headed out on loan to Gillingham after struggling to secure playing time this season, while Terell Thomas has extended his loan stay at Welling United.

Charlton have kept just two clean sheets so far this season, while conceding two or more goals in half of their fixtures in the Championship, while also struggling to find the target down the other end, netting just 11 goals in their first 10 matches.

Tony Watt's barren spell continues after he failed to score in the draw with Fulham. The Scot scored in his first three appearances of the season after joining the club in January, but has been unable to add to his goal count since, despite making a further seven appearances for the club.

Recent form: LDLLLD
Recent form (all competitions): DLLLLD

Team News

Hal Robson-Kanu of Reading (9) celebrates as he score their first goal during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Derby County and Reading at iPro Stadium on February 14, 2015© Getty Images

Having helped Wales secure qualification for Euro 2016 over the international break, Hal Robson-Kanu has returned to Reading with a knock, making him a doubt for this weekend's fixture.

Oliver Norwood and Chris Gunter both come back from action with their national sides unscathed, leaving Clarke with no other fresh injury concerns ahead of this match.

There are still a number of absentees for Charlton, although Reza Ghoochannejhad is back in training after a spell out with a knee injury. However, this match may come to soon for the Iran international.

Goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is still sidelined with a groin injury, while Cristian Ceballos, Simon Makienok and Igor Vetokele are all missing as well.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Al Habsi, Gunter, Hector, McShane, Obita, Williams, Norwood, Piazon, John, Blackman, Sa

Charlton Athletic possible starting lineup:
Pope, Solly, Diarra, Bauer, Fox, Berg Gudmundsson, Ba, Cousins, McAleny, Jackson, Watt

Head To Head

When the sides met in the Championship last season, it was Charlton who won both matches, securing a 3-2 win at home in March after beating Reading at the Madejski last November.

The Royals have won just two of their last eight meetings against this weekend's opponents, but have also had a player sent off in two matches during the same period.

In 17 meetings between the two sides, Charlton have secured seven wins, just one more than Reading, while four of their matches have ended in draws.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Reading 2-0 Charlton Athletic

With so many players still sidelined with injuries, it is hard to see Charlton turning around their form following the international break, particularly against a side that have been on such a good run. Reading have not had the best record against Charlton in recent years, but the added incentive of a chance to move above Middlesbrough into second in the table should be enough motivation for the home side to take the win.

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Moussa Dembele scores for Fulham against Blackburn on September 13, 2015
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Preview: Charlton Athletic vs. Fulham

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