MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 06:52:15| >> :600:121955:121955:
Mar 6, 2021 at 3pm UK at Madejski Stadium
ReadingReading
3-0
Sheff WedsSheffield Wednesday
Olise (30' pen.), Joao (65'), Yiadom (88')
Moore (37')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Borner (29')

Preview: Reading vs. Sheffield Wednesday - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Reading and Sheffield Wednesday, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Darren Moore will take charge of his second game as Sheffield Wednesday manager on Saturday, as his side travel to the Madejski Stadium to take on Reading.

The hosts currently sit in fifth spot in the Championship table due to two consecutive wins, while Wednesday fell to a disappointing defeat in a South Yorkshire derby against Rotherham United, moving them further from safety.


Match preview

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Reading secured another important win last time out, as George Puscas fired them to a 1-0 victory at home to Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night.

That followed another 1-0 win, when Michael Morrison scored the only goal of the game in a victory away at Rotherham United.

Despite the good form of the teams below them, Veljko Paunovic's side have managed to keep hold of their spot in the playoffs thanks to those two recent wins, remaining three points ahead of seventh-placed Barnsley, who are in hot pursuit of the top six.

Paunovic will be hoping his side can record a third consecutive league win here as they look to fend off the likes of Barnsley and Cardiff City, as well as putting pressure on the sides above them, currently sitting just six points behind second-placed Brentford.

The Royals do boast a fairly strong record at home, having won 10 of their 17 league games on home turf this season, with only five sides picking up more than the 30 points they have accumulated at their Berkshire ground.

However, their opponents will not be a pushover on Saturday, as they take on a Sheffield Wednesday side who are fighting for survival and will be desperate for a result at the Madejski Stadium.

Wycombe Wanderers' Scott Kashket in action with Sheffield Wednesday's Osaze Urhoghide and Cheyenne Dunkley on February 9, 2021© Reuters

Last time out, Darren Moore's side travelled to Rotherham United in a crucial game at the bottom of the Championship table, as they looked to gain ground on the sides above them.

They did not get off to a good start though, as Michael Smith put the Millers ahead, before he was shown a red card and Matthew Olosunde turned the ball into his own net with 10 minutes to go, seeing the Owls go level with a one-man advantage.

However, it was their hosts who would get the winner, when Freddie Ladapo finished off a counter-attack in the 97th minute following a Sheffield Wednesday corner to snatch a 2-1 win.

That goal condemned the Owls to a fifth consecutive league loss, a run which has seen the South Yorkshire outfit fall seven points adrift of safety.

After the fourth defeat of that run, caretaker manager Neil Thompson was replaced by Darren Moore, as the Sheffield Wednesday hierarchy look to avoid relegation down to League One after seven seasons in the second tier.

However, that job is looking tougher every week as they now sit seven points behind Birmingham City, with Reading and league leaders Norwich City as their next two fixtures.

Worryingly for Moore, his new team currently have the one of the worst away records in the Championship, having picked up just 11 points from their 17 games on the road this season, an unconvincing sign as they look to overcome a six-point deduction and avoid the drop.

Reading Championship form: LWLLWW

Sheffield Wednesday Championship form: WLLLLL


Team News

George Puscas celebrates scoring for Reading against Blackburn Rovers in the Championship on March 2, 2021© Reuters

Reading are expected to be without experienced centre-back Michael Morrison, who was forced off with an injury after half an hour in the recent win over Blackburn.

In his absence, Tom McIntyre could return to the starting team alongside Liam Moore, after the 22-year-old shone while Moore was out with an injury earlier in the season.

Midfielder Andy Rinomhota was absent from the squad in the Blackburn game, after he came off late in the win over Rotherham.

They also remain without influential midfielder John Swift, who has only featured in nine league games this campaign due to two separate spells out through injury, joining striker Yakou Meite on the sidelines.

George Puscas put forward his claim for another start with the winning goal against Blackburn, as Paunovic could continue with the system of two strikers with the Romanian partnering with the clinical Lucas Joao.

The Owls' injury list has continued to grow in recent weeks, while several key first-team players continue lengthy spells on the sidelines including midfielder Massimo Luongo and centre-back Dominic Iorfa.

Joe Wildsmith remains the only available senior goalkeeper at the club, as both Kieren Westwood and Cameron Dawson are out with injuries.

Andre Green will also miss this game, with the January signing failing to hit the ground running in Sheffield having only made two appearances for the club due to an Achilles injury.

In his first game in charge, Moore opted to play two centre-backs with Tom Lees and Julian Borner pairing up, while he selected a lone striker in Callum Paterson.

Elias Kachunga could come into the starting side for this game, adding some pace and creativity from the wing.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Yiadom, McIntyre, Moore, Richards; Laurent, Semedo; Ejaria, Olise; Joao, Puscas

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Wildsmith; Palmer, Lees, Borner, Penney; Hutchinson, Shaw; Kachunga, Bannan, Windass; Paterson


SM words green background

We say: Reading 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

While the Owls will be desperate for their first win under Darren Moore, we see them being outclassed by Reading who are determined to keep their place in the playoffs.

Their dangerous attacking players should create plenty of problems for a Wednesday defence that has been struck by injuries, and we predict a third consecutive victory for the Royals here.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Rotherham United manager Paul Warne pictured in January 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
2Watford422410859283182
3Swansea CitySwansea4222101052331976
4Brentford412014771403174
5Bournemouth4221111069412874
6Barnsley412181254441071
7Reading4219101357461167
8Cardiff CityCardiff4216121458461260
9Millwall421417114140159
10Queens Park RangersQPR421611155051-159
11Middlesbrough42169174947257
12Stoke CityStoke421414144546-156
13Luton TownLuton41168173646-1056
14Bristol City42156214156-1551
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn421311185448650
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest421213173441-749
17Preston North EndPreston42147214155-1449
18Coventry CityCoventry411112183756-1945
19Birmingham CityBirmingham411112183150-1945
20Derby CountyDerby421110213148-1743
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham39116224153-1239
22Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds42119223555-2036
23Wycombe WanderersWycombe42810243266-3434

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