The Royals return to the Midlands this evening for what will be our second game in the space of seven days, as a meeting with Birmingham City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium beckons.
Tonight's hosts, The Blues are battling at the wrong end of the table, and will be keen to become just the second team to complete a league double over us, after they edged a tight contest at the Madejski back in December.
Victory and an all important three points for the Royals would see them stretch their unbeaten run to five matches, with nine games to go.
How to watch
Tonight's meeting with our second city hosts has been selected for live coverage by Sky Sports, which means on this occasion supporters will not be able to watch via iFollow.
If you’re not a Sky subscriber, you can get a Day Pass on NOW TV for 24 hours’ worth of access to all 11 Sky Sports channels.
It's been a tough season for the Blues, who sit 21st, three points above the drop zone. Their latest defeat brought an end to Aitor Karanka's tenure in B9, and it's now Lee Bowyer who will take charge of his first game as Birmingham boss on Wednesday night.
With the Blues sitting in a dangerous position with ten games left to play, they will be eager to string a run of results together to avoid their race for survival going down to the wire. They have won just one of their last five outings, as they prepare to host the Royals, who in contrast have lost just once in that time.
Last time out the Blues fell to a heavy 3-0 defeat at home to a resurgent Bristol City side. Their last win came at the end of February, as Kristian Pedersen and Alen Halilovic each scored a late goal to secure a 2-1 home win over QPR.
In January, Birmingham looked to boost their hopes of Championship survival with the additions of West Bromwich Albion and Southampton loanees Rakeem Harper and Yan Valery, former-Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove and Manchester City U23 forward Keyendrah Simmonds.
One to watch: Scott Hogan
Following an initial loan spell with the Blues that saw him notch seven goals, Hogan signed for Birmingham City on a permanent basis, and has continued to prove a threat in attacking areas, finding the net on six occasions so far this season. His strikes have earnt his struggling side key victories over both Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough.
Hogan arrived at St Andrews for good in September 2020 having agreed a deal to bring an end to his time with their bitter rivals, Aston Villa. Hogan had spent three years at Villa Park, scoring 10 times in 61 appearances.
While on the books of the Villans, the Salford-born striker also bagged a handful of goals during loan spells at both Stoke City and Sheffield United.
The Republic of Ireland international, who has been capped by his country on eight occasions, began his career in the youth set-up of Rochdale, prior to being released from Spotland in 2010.
Hogan, an out and out poacher, then worked his way back up the divisions, enjoying spells with numerous non-league sides before being snapped up again by the Dale. Having proved himself a Football League player, he then earnt a switch to Brentford, and t was his form at Griffin Park that saw him bank a move to Birmingham, initially with the claret and blue side of the city.
Despite having lost to Birmingham in this season's reverse fixture, the Royals head into their latest trip to the second city having won three of their last four trips to St Andrews.
Our last visit to B9 was one to remember, as goals from Matt Miazga, Yakou Méïté and Pelé saw us to a 3-1 victory over the Blues back in March 2020, our final game before Covid-19 put our season on hold.
When the two teams last met however, it was a tough one to take for the Royals, who will be seeking payback this time around. Two moments of quality from Birmingham midfielder Jon Toral earnt the Blues three points and a 2-1 win at the Madejski during the festive period.
It was Méïté who pulled one back for Reading, before being withdrawn from the game through injury on a forgettable night in Berkshire.
The Royals have won 14 and drawn 12 of a total 52 meetings between the teams, dating back to our first contest with the Blues back in 1986, a 2-2 draw in Division Two.
Andy Woolmer will be the man in charge of proceedings in Birmingham on Wednesday night, for what will be his second Reading game of the season.
Woolmer last took charge of a Royals fixture last month, during our 2-1 home defeat to Millwall.
Nik Barnard and Nick Greenhalgh will assist Woolmer during the week, while Stephen Martin will be the fourth official on this occasion.
During Ward's 25 league games to date, he has issued 74 yellow cards and one red card.
A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to St Andrews.
We can’t wait to see you all again soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.