It might be an international break this weekend for the Royals and our supporters… but as many as six of our outbound loanees could still be in action for their clubs!
Here’s a preview of some critical fixtures ahead for our players…
In Sky Bet League One, striker Sam Smith will be hoping to help Oxford United to some much-needed points against fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle as the two lowest-ranked clubs in the division meet at the Kassam Stadium this Saturday.
With the U’s having registered just six points so far, and the Pilgrims merely seven, both teams will be eyeing up the opportunity to kick-start their campaign at the weekend. Smith, who has made seven starts and six sub appearances, will be looking to open his league account for his loan club.
Meanwhile AFC Wimbledon and Tennai Watson have arguably the toughest game of the weekend as they host the League One frontrunners when Portsmouth travel to Kingsmeadow.
A mixed beginning to the campaign for the Dons sees them lying 20th in the standings at present, although there’s little to choose between any of the teams in the bottom half of the table. Watson has made 11 starts so far for the London club.
In League Two, goalkeeper Lewis Ward has been deployed as backup to David Cornell in league fixtures so far for Northampton Town – although he played the duration in midweek as the Cobblers defeated Oxford in the Checkatrade Trophy.
That was his third appearance of the campaign, all of which have come in cup competitions so far. So it remains to see whether he’ll be drafted in for a league debut at Sixfields… Northampton, currently 22nd, host 6th-placed Forest Green Rovers.
And on Non-League Day, we’ve got two youngsters who will be trying to build on good first weeks for their loan clubs outside the top four tiers. Gabriel Osho put in a man-of-the-match display on his debut for National League side Aldershot Town, and this weekend they could rein in three more points on Eastleigh if they can bring three points back from the south coast. And Ade Shokunbi, who netted on his Billericay Town debut, will hope to maintain the Blues’ position as league leaders of the National League South with a home win against Gloucester.
Of our four loanees based abroad, only one has a domestic game to look forward to this weekend. Fortuna Sittard loanee Andrija Novakovich is away with the USA’s national team, and neither KSV Roeselare (Danzell Gravenberch) not Viking Stavanger (Axel Andresson) have a game scheduled. Joey van den Berg and NEC Nijmegen, however, host FC Eindhoven in the Dutch second tier.