Reading vs Brentford
Saturday 20th January 2018
Sky Bet Championship
Madejski Stadium plays host to near neighbours Brentford this weekend as Dean Smith's Bees travel down the M4 for a Championship meeting in RG2.
Brentford are in fine form, having lost just once in their last six league outings - and that defeat came at Molineux against runaway league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
And the Bees are expected to bring a vocal away following to the Madejski as they sit just three points outside the top six and have one eye set on challenging for a play-off place.
The Royals however are now unbeaten in three and have lost just once in their last five games themselves and while Brentford bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup to League Two opposition at home to Notts County a fortnigtht ago, Reading put three past Stevenage in a replay to earn a boost in confidence ahead of this weekend's encounter.
Paul McShane and John Swift are expected to miss the match with hamstring injuries picked up at the KCOM Stadium last weekend, while Liam Moore also turned his ankle in Hull so is a doubt.
However Jon Dadi Böðvarsson bagged a hat-trick in midweek while a much-changed back four kept a clean sheet against Stevenage on Tuesday night - so there is plenty of competition for places in Jaap Stam's starting eleven.
It ended 1-1 when the two teams met in the reverse fixture at Griffin Park back in mid-September; Josh Clarke put the home side in front but Liam Kelly levelled from the penalty spot in the second half to earn a share of the spoils.
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"The run that we have been on is starting to capture the imagination of a lot of supporters," said Bees boss Dean Smith this week. "They are willing to get behind us. That is something that is gratefully received by the players and it is great to have that many fans behind us.
“It was difficult for Reading because they missed out on promotion on penalties and so their season was extended longer than everybody else,” explained Smith.
"They had a shorter pre-season and there was also the disappointment that could carry over. They have got good players. I am surprised with where they are this season but a couple of wins and they could be mid-table.”
Having bagged a hat-trick on Tuesday night, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is perhaps worth a punt for first goalscorer, priced at 6/1 this weekend.
Or maybe you can see Liam Kelly repeating his spotkick finish at Griffin Park and bagging again for the Royals against Brentford on Saturday - our Academy graduate is a 12/1 shot to score the last goal this weekend.
For the second time this season, Darren Bond will be the man in the middle at Madejski Stadium when the Royals take on Brentford this weekend.
He took charge of our 3-0 home win over Barnsley at the end of November, seeing Dave Edwards, Joey van den Berg and substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson score in a league win against the Tykes.
He last oversaw a Brentford game at the tail end of last season, officiating in a 1-1 draw between the Bees and Fulham at Craven Cottage last April - Nico Yennaris cancelling out Tom Cairney's opener.
He has averaged just over three cards per match this season, and has brandished the red card three time - sending off Barnsley's Joe Williams at Millwall in his last game.
Bond will be assisted by Mr Andrew Fox and Mr Robert Hyde as his assistant referees and the fourth official is Mr Simon Hooper.
There have been important changes in car parking and bus travel for the upcoming season, with parking at Madejski Stadium now having to be pre-booked online, as well as a continuation of our bus subsidies with Reading Buses. There are more places to park than ever before, though, so click here and find out what the best option is for you!
Follow it live!
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And supporters based overseas will be able to watch live video of a majority of our games – including this one – by using iFollow. Match passes are just £5 (prices equated to your local currency).
As ever, we’ll also provide live updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and look out for our match photos on Instagram. And head to Snapchat and find 'officialrfc' to follow our matchday story as it unfolds!
We wish to politely remind supporters that the football club is responsible for their conduct at all matches (home or away) and any person committing a football-related offence or involved in serious misconduct at any match will result in a club ban. Examples of serious misconduct include discriminatory, offensive or abusive chanting, entering the pitch, persistent standing and throwing a missile. Supporters witnessing any incidents of serious misconduct are encouraged to report this to the football club by texting 80800, beginning your message with the word SAFE.