We’re going into this weekend looking for back-to-back wins… 15 weeks apart.
It feels like a lifetime ago that Pelé curled in a match-sealing goal at Birmingham City, helping the Royals to a 3-1 win at St Andrew’s – at the time, little did we know that we would be in for such a wait.
But finally, as we look to come out the other side of these troublesome times, football restarts this Saturday against Stoke City.
The Potters, while having a slow start to the season, have made impressive progress under Michael O’Neill since his mid-season appointment; they were one of the in-form sides when the season stopped, having just thrashed Hull City 5-1 in the Midlands.
But all momentum has been eradicated; everyone is going in fresh. 27 points available for each team to compete for – let’s try and get three on the board by Saturday evening…
This is the part of our preview where we’d normally tell you about tickets and travel, what’s happening around the ground, and so on and so forth. But behind-closed-doors matches means that your support will instead be felt from afar.
Season Tickets holders have been sent promo codes for iFollow to allow them to watch the games live, either on their phone, tablet or computer. For more information about iFollow promo codes for Season Ticket holders, click here.
Meanwhile, all non-Season Ticket holders have the option of buying a £10 Video Match Pass for iFollow to watch this one live. Click here to purchase your Match Pass.
Manager Mark Bowen: “Normally, you get a chance to build yourself into the season. But you can’t afford that now – you can’t afford to build up slowly.
“From the first game, you have to be at it. Physically and mentally, to meet the demands of it – and try to get that momentum for yourself that gets you through those nine games.”
Captain Liam Moore: “We’re as ready as we can be. There’ll be no excuses. It’s just about transferring it onto the pitch on Saturday.
“I’m really proud of the group. I said before – everybody came back in good condition, so that’s already a positive. I can’t say too much because it’s the games that count – but we’re in a good place and when Saturday comes we want to tick off three points.”
Along with the other EFL clubs who restart this weekend, we are using the opportunity to pay tribute to the endeavours and sacrifices of NHS key workers over the recent months – without which we would not be in a position to resume football. NHS ‘thank you’ logos will adorn the shirts of both Reading and Stoke players, and a minute’s applause will also be held ahead of the game.
In addition, the EFL and EFL Clubs are unequivocal in tackling racism and any form of discrimination in society. The resumption of the football season this weekend provides us with the opportunity to stand together and strongly reiterate this message – more details will follow ahead of the game.
It’s not a message that we would usually give to our supporters… but please do not travel to Madejski Stadium for this fixture. All supporters have the opportunity to watch the fixture remotely, and for the safety of everyone absolutely no unauthorised access to the match or the stadium grounds will be permitted.
We can’t wait to see you all soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.