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13/14 Club Guide: Part Two

11 July 2013

Get the lowdown on our opponents

Take a look at who the Royals will be coming up against in the season ahead with Part Two of our Championship opponents for 2013/14. Read part one here.

Bolton
Only a last minute goal denied the Wanderers a shot at an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League via the play-offs, having been relegated from the top flight in 2011/12.

The Lancashire side managed an impressive late Championship season surge, similar to the Royals' roll two seasons ago, but after winning nine out of 13 games - they came up agonisingly short on the final day. A 2-2 draw with Blackpool, combined with a last minute goal for Leicester against Nottingham Forest, meant that the Trotters would have to miss out.

But, boosted by the signings of Alex Baptiste and young winger Robert Hall, Dougie Freedman's charges will surely be one of the favourites to go one better in 2013/14.

When we meet: Saturday 10th August, 3pm (A) & Saturday 18th January, 3pm (H)
Distance between us: 216 miles
Former Royal: Matt Mills
Last five vs Bolton: WWWLL

Bournemouth
Reading will play AFC Bournemouth in a competitive fixture for the first time in 11 years, after the Cherries earned the right to play in the Championship after finishing 2012/13 as League One runners-up.

Excitement is at an all-time high around the Goldsands Stadium as the south-coast club prepare for the campaign in the second flight with a pre-season friendly against La Liga giants Real Madrid. No one could have foreseen this situation when the Cherries were rock-bottom of the division in October 2012, with manager and assistant Paul Groves and Shaun Brooks shown the door.

But Eddie Howe returned to the hot seat in Dorset, and not only rescued Bouremouth from the predicament of relegation, but inspired the Cherries to second-placed position - only missing out on the title due to Yeovil's dramatic last minute winner at Brentford. Former Royals left back Ian Harte has joined the club for the 2013/14 season.

When we meet: Saturday 7th December 3pm (H) & Tuesday 8th April, 7.45pm (A)
Distance between us: 73 miles
Former Cherries: Alex Pearce and Jem Karacan (loans)
Last five vs Bournemouth: WWDLD

Brighton
Across the south coast, Brighton & Hove Albion prepare for another season in the Championship after missing out in the play-off semi-finals to Premier League-bound Crystal Palace.

Wilfred Zaha's phenomenal display denied the Seagulls a chance at Wembley, but it was yet another progressive season for Brighton - who have gone from strength to strength in recent years in their new permanent home at the impressive Amex Stadium.

The Royals have won their last six fixtures against the south coast outfit, but must be wary of a Brighton side who will undoubtedly be searching for promotion once again - aided by the signing of one-time Royal Matthew Upson on a free transfer. New signing Wayne Bridge starred for them last season, earning acclaim in the Championship Team of the Year.

When we meet: Sunday 14 September, 1.30pm (H) & Saturday 8th March, 3pm (A)
Distance between us: 90 miles
Former Seagull: Wayne Bridge (loan)
Last five vs Brighton: WWWWW

Burnley
The Clarets are yet another side who will be hoping to at least be in with a shout of making the play-offs, as Sean Dyche's men prepare for their fourth season in the Championship - following relegation in 2010.

Each season, the Lancashire club have just fallen short of the top six, and in 2012/13 were seven points adrift in a very congested table.

Burnley will surely have their eyes on going one better this campaign as they prepare their squad for 2013/14, having brought in few new goalkeepers - Tom Heaton, Alex Cisak, Nick Liversedge and Daniel Nizic.

When we meet: Saturday 5th October, 3pm (A) & Saturday 3rd May, 3pm (final day) (H)
Distance between us: 234
Former Claret: Joseph Mills
Last five vs Burnley: WWWWW

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