MX23RW : Friday, April 16 18:47:54| >> :120:15503:15503:
Apr 9, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Vicarage Road
WatfordWatford
2-0
ReadingReading
Sarr (12', 14')
Zinckernagel (17'), Hughes (75'), Success (90+2')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Rinomhota (56')

Preview: Watford vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Watford and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Watford play host to Reading on Friday evening knowing that victory will move the club closer to an immediate return to the Premier League.

While the visitors do not feature in the automatic promotion race, the Royals will progress into fourth position in the Championship standings by claiming maximum points at Vicarage Road.


Match preview

Watford's Ismaila Sarr celebrates scoring their first goal against Middlesbrough in the Championship on April 5, 2021© Reuters

On the back of conceding a late equaliser to Middlesbrough on Easter Monday, Xisco will be aware that his Watford squad have much work ahead if they want to secure promotion to the top flight.

However, with Brentford and Swansea City both failing to take advantage, the Hornets effectively strengthened their hold of second spot, now sitting nine points clear with six matches remaining.

While the Bees and Swans both possess a game in hand, Watford require a maximum of 13 points during the run-in to book their spot back in the top tier.

Xisco's side remain on a seven-match unbeaten streak in the Championship, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three times at the opposite end of the pitch.

Winger Ismaila Sarr has netted twice in his last three appearances, taking his tally to 10 from 35 outings for the season.

Reading's Michael Olise celebrates with his teamates after he scores their first goal against Derby County in the Championship on April 5, 2021© Reuters

Although they have remained in and around the playoff places throughout the campaign, Reading went into their last fixture against Derby County having failed to win in four matches.

Veljko Paunovic would have been relieved to see that run brought to an end with a 3-1 win at the Madejski Stadium, building on a share of the spoils being earned at promotion rivals Barnsley.

With resurgent Bournemouth still possessing a game in hand, Reading will drop out of the top six if the Cherries take advantage of their extra fixture during the run-in.

Nevertheless, the drop off in form of Brentford and Swansea City has given hope to the chasing pack, particularly a Reading side which has now scored in eight successive contests.

Watford Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Reading Championship form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W


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Team News

Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Xisco could keep faith with the side which earned a draw at Middlesbrough, resisting the temptation to bring in fresh legs.

Dan Gosling and Andre Gray are options should changes be made in midfield and attack, while Isaac Success is an alternative to Ken Sema on the flank.

Having netted as a substitute against Derby, top goalscorer Lucas Joao is expected to be recalled to the Reading XI.

Lewis Gibson could return to the side at left-back, but Michael Morrison is out with a hamstring injury.

Alfa Semedo may get the nod over Ovie Ejaria or Yakou Meite.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina; Chalobah, Hughes, Zinckernagel; Sarr, Pedro, Sema

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Yiadom, Holmes, Moore, Gibson; Rinomhota, Laurent; Meite, Olise, Ejaria; Joao


SM words green background

We say: Watford 2-1 Reading

Despite dropping points in the North-East, Xisco may feel that the disappointment could prove to be a blessing in disguise. With extra motivation ahead of this contest, we expect the Hornets to return to winning ways, potentially by the odd goal in three.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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.Home/Draw:data


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How you voted: Watford vs Reading

Watford
81.1%
Draw
9.1%
Reading
9.8%
143
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Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich41279565283790
2Watford412410759273282
3Swansea CitySwansea412291050311975
4Brentford402013771403173
5Bournemouth4120111066402671
6Barnsley412181254441071
7Reading4219101356451167
8Cardiff CityCardiff4216121457451260
9Millwall411416114140158
10Middlesbrough41169164845357
11Queens Park RangersQPR411511154850-256
12Stoke CityStoke411413144546-155
13Luton TownLuton40158173546-1153
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn421311185448650
15Bristol City41155214055-1550
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest411213163439-549
17Preston North EndPreston41146214155-1448
18Coventry CityCoventry411112183756-1945
19Birmingham CityBirmingham411112183150-1945
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield411111194362-1944
21Derby CountyDerby421110213148-1743
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham39116224153-1239
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds41118223454-2035
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe4189243064-3433

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