A look ahead to the visit with the BeesThe Royals visit Brentford at Griffin Park on Saturday, looking to pick up their first three points of the Sky Bet Championship season. Here are 8 things you need to know ahead of the game…
1. What’s the story?
While the Royals are still looking for the first victory in the league campaign, there is still plenty of cause for optimism – Steve Clarke’s men haven’t been beaten since the opening weekend in all competitions, and came out on top in a thrilling Capital One Cup victory at Fratton Park on Tuesday.
Manager Clarke has been pleased with his side’s performances so far this season – Reading have had the most shots on goal in the championship and have also conceded the fewest chances.
His opposite number is Marinus Dijkhuizen, who took charge of the Bees in the summer following Brentford’s bittersweet season last year which saw them reaching the play-offs, but miss out on promotion to the Premier League. The Dutchman has amassed a total of four points from his side’s opening three games – however Brentford are yet to win at home this season and crashed out of the Capital One Cup in the first round, getting heavily beaten 4-0 by League 2 outfit Oxford.
2. Who said what?
Reading manager Steve Clarke: “Brentford had a fantastic season last year. They have changed their manager, but I’ve watched them play and they haven’t changed their style from last season too much. They are still very open and very expansive, so I think you can expect an open game. It’s a difficult game to go there, we have to go with a positive frame of mind and try and get a first win on the board.”
Royals midfielder Oliver Norwood: “We found out how good a side Brentford were last year when we went to Griffin Park. We got turned over really and weren’t good enough on the day. Fair play to them they came up and had a fantastic season getting into the Play-off semi-finals, but this is a new season and a new team for us, they’ve got a lot of new players as well so we’re confident we can go there and get the three points.”
Brentford Manager Marinus Dijkhuizen: “They are a tight team and you can see that in their goal difference. After four games they have conceded three goals and scored two goals so that says a lot. They haven’t won but they haven’t lost many either so I think it will be another tight game.”
3. Where are we going?
The Reading squad and supporters will be visiting Griffin Park on Saturday – the stadium has been Brentford’s home since its opening in 1904, and has a capacity of 12,763. Our full and final allocation of 1,653 has been totally sold out, so the away end will certainly be packed to the rafters. The Bees had a new pitch laid from Monday to Wednesday this week ready in time for the fixture against the Royals.
4. What’s the travel situation?
Reading fans travelling via train to Griffin Park can catch trains from Reading to London Paddington, then take the London Underground to Boston Manor by connecting at Earl’s Court (using the District and Piccadilly lines respectively). The estimated travel time from Reading station is an hour.
Those driving can make the 35-mile journey eastwards on the M4 – if traffic is clear, the journey should take around 45 minutes. Dependent on where you’re travelling from, you may need to bear in mind increased traffic in Reading due to this weekend’s Reading Festival.
5. What’s the news from the camps?
Winger Garath McCleary returned to action for the Royals on Tuesday, scoring against Portsmouth, and should be available for the trip to Griffin Park having recovered from a calf injury sustained at the Gold Cup. Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak left the Royals on Thursday for Russian side Dynamo Moscow.
Bees duo Sam Saunders and Nico Yennaris, both of whom were at Wycombe on loan last season, are back in Brentford’s squad to take on Reading on Saturday. Former Arsenal man Yennaris has been out since the cup clash against Oxford with a dead leg and it will giving head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen some extra options in the squad.
6. What are the odds?
For those fans that fancy a flutter, Football League title partner Sky Bet have a Reading win priced at 21/10. A draw at is available at 12/5, while they are giving odds of 5/4 for a home win.
Sky Bet are offering odds of 4/1 for a second goal in as many games Garath McCleary, while a Reading clean sheet is at 3/1.
7. Who is the man in the middle?
The referee on the day will be Andrew Madley. The Yorkshireman also took charge of last season’s league meeting between the two sides at the Madejski, with Brentford coming away 2-0 winners that day. He will be joined by assistants John Busby and Ian Cooper with Justin Amey as the fourth official.
8. How can I get a ticket, and how else can I follow the match?
Unfortunately, if you haven’t got one already, the away allocation is now completely sold out for the fixture, with no further tickets available on the day.
Follow @ReadingFC on Twitter for updates throughout the match, and Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/readingfc for more information.
And wherever you are in the world, you can listen to live audio commentary by joining Reading FC PlayerHD – as well as live, digital-quality commentary, you’ll also get exclusive access to interviews and other behind-the-scenes videos from as little as £4.49 per month. Click here to find out more.