MX23RW : Saturday, September 25 19:30:45| >> :120:14044:14044:
Sep 15, 2015 at 8pm UK at Madejski Stadium
DerbyDerby County
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ince (69')

Preview: Reading vs. Derby County

Sports Mole previews the Championship encounter between Reading and Derby County.

Reading could move into the top six if they can beat Derby County at the Madejski Stadium.

However, they face a Derby side fresh from picking up their first win of the season last weekend and who could also leapfrog the Royals with a victory.


Reading manager Steve Clarke during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Reading at The Amex Stadium on December 26, 2014© Getty Images

After the Royals started the season with a narrow defeat away to Birmingham City, Steve Clarke's side have since gone unbeaten and are on the cusp of a playoff place.

Although they scored only two goals in their first four Championship games, Reading have since won three consecutive games in all competitions to move up to ninth in the table and into the third round of the League Cup.

The Berkshire side followed up their 3-1 away win at Brentford before the international break with a thumping 5-1 victory against Ipswich Town, thanks to a hat-trick from Orlando Sa.

In that game, Clarke started with Matej Vydra, while fellow new signings Ola John and Lucas Piazon were named on the bench.

Also among the substitutes was Chelsea's Michael Hector, who was loaned back to the Royals for the remainder of the campaign.

However, Clarke recently loaned out youngster Aaron Kuhl to Dundee United until the New Year.

Recent form: LDDDWW
Recent form (all competitions): DDDWWW

Derby County

Paul Clement manager of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Middlesbrough at Pride Park Stadium on August 18, 2015© Getty Images

Paul Clement's transition from assistant to manager could be described as a slow burner, but he has built a Derby side who have been difficult to beat.

The Rams have been draw specialists, with four draws and one defeat in their first five games.

However, their season kicked into gear with a narrow victory away to Preston North End last weekend.

Two goals from Chris Martin, including a well-taken free kick, were enough for the Rams to seal their first win at Deepdale.

Despite Martin finding his goalscoring form, Clement appears intent on bolstering his attacking options with Manchester United's James Wilson widely thought to be a loan target for County.

However, his team received a blow with the news that Chris Baird could be on the sidelines after suffering concussion in the victory at Preston.

Recent form: DDDDLW
Recent form (all competitions): LDDDLW

Team News

Michael Hector of Reading in action during a pre season friendly match between AFC Wimbledon and Reading at the Kingsmeadow Stadium on July 14, 2012© Getty Images

The Royals may decide to name an unchanged starting lineup after their thrashing of Ipswich last time out.

However, should they decide to reshuffle their team then Chelsea's on-loan defender Michael Hector and midfielder Danny Williams and Paolo Hurtudo are possible options.

Striker Dominic Samuel is still out for the Berkshire club with a knee injury.

Lee Grant could keep his place in goal for Derby after replacing Scott Carson for the victory at Preston.

The Rams are continuing to monitor Baird's health, but the County captain will miss the trip to Reading.

Meanwhile, Craig Bryson (knee) and George Thorne (calf) are also sidelined.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Bond; Gunter, Obita, Ferdinand, McShane; Norwood, Quinn, Tshibola, Blackman; Sa, Vydra

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock; Hendrick, Butterfield, Johnson; Ince, Martin, Russell

Head To Head

Reading have proved to be a bogey team for Derby, having won 22 of the 38 meetings between the sides.

Indeed, since County completed a league double over the Royals in the 2004-05 season, the Rams have registered only three victories in 17 encounters

However, Derby's last win against the Berkshire outfit came last October when two goals from Chris Martin and one from Liverpool loanee Jordon Ibe capped off a 3-0 triumph at the Madejski.

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We say: Reading 3-2 Derby

The manner of Derby's performance at Preston suggests that they can cause problems for the Royals. However, Reading are on a three-match winning streak, scoring nine goals in that time. So we have backed the Berkshire side to edge what could be a high-scoring affair.

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