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Match Previews

2014/15 Preview: Part One

26 June 2014

Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool & Bolton

Take a look at who the Royals will be coming up against in the season ahead with Part One of our Championship opponents for 2014/15.




Birmingham

When we meet: Saturday 13th December (A) and Tuesday 17th March (H)
Distance between us: 110 miles
Last five vs Birmingham: LWLWW

Nigel Adkins' men will take on Birmingham twice this season after the Blues remarkably avoided relegation on goal difference on the final day of the season.

The Royals beat City 2-0 at home in September and claimed a 2-1 victory at St Andrews in March in what was a worrying season for the midlands side who won just twice at home all year.

41 players made at least one appearance in first-team competition, of whom twelve were loan signings - and there were twenty different goalscorers in 2013/14.

The Blues were staring League One in the face on the final day of the season as they were trailing Bolton 2-0, but a goal from Nikola Zigic and a 93rd minute header from Paul Caddis secured Championship survival and condemned Doncaster Rovers to relegation.



Blackburn

When we meet: Saturday 1st November (A) and Saturday 11th April (H)
Distance between us: 226 miles
Former Rovers man: Nick Blackman
Last five vs Blackburn: DLDDL

Not dissimilar to the Royals, Blackburn narrowly missed out on a Play-Off place after they finished in 8th place with 70 points - a point behind Reading and two behind Brighton.

Gary Bowyer, installed as permanent manager after working in a caretaker role, got off to a slow start in 2013/14 with just two wins from the opening eight.

The Lancashire side took four points of Nigel Adkins men, with a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park in November and a 1-0 victory at Madejski Stadium in February.

Blackburn finished the season with 12 games unbeaten, and their faint hopes of a sixth-placed were dashed on the final day of the season because of results elsewhere.



Blackpool

When we meet: Saturday 25th October (H) and Monday 6th April (A)
Distance between us: 241 miles
Former Tangerine: Nick Blackman (loan)
Last five vs Blackburn: LLWLW

The Royals will meet Blackpool again in 2014/15 after a disappointing season for the Tangerines, who ended up in 20th position.

Disappointing because the Seasiders led the Championship pace at the start of the campaign, with five wins and a draw from their first six games - including a narrow 1-0 win over Reading at Bloomfield Road.

It was Paul Ince's first full season as manager, but after a dreadful run he was sacked from the role in January, with Barry Ferguson installed as caretaker manager for the remainder of the campaign.

After narrowly avoiding relegation by just two points, former Belgian international Jose Riga named as manager and a squad revamp is expected this summer.



Bolton
When we meet: Saturday 6th December (H) and Tuesday 3rd March (A)
Distance between us: 216 miles
Former Royal: Matt Mills
Last five vs Bolton: WLLDW

The Wanderers will be hoping to improve on their hugely inconsistent mid-table finish in 2013/14, and propel themselves into the play-off mix.

Dougie Freedman's men failed to win their opening eight fixtures of last season, which included a 1-1 draw with Reading at the Rebook, but then responded with a nine-match unbeaten streak.

Form fluctuated the season for the Lancashire side, who were beaten 7-1 by the Royals at Madejski Stadium during a nine-game winless spell over Winter - though again the Trotters responded eventually and only lost one game between 22nd February and 18th April to secure a 14th place finish.

Captain Zat Knight, Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears and Jay Lynch were all released after the season, with Liam Trotter departing for Millwall, while defender Dorian Dervite, midfielder Andy Robinson and Liam Feeney have all arrived at Bolton.

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