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Match Previews

🔜 Ahead of the game | Royals faced with Preston test

The Royals will travel to Deepdale for a televised clash with the Lilywhites

23 January 2021

Fresh off the back of a comprehensive victory over Coventry City, the Royals go in search of more payback against the teams that beat them earlier in the season, and our next chance to do so comes with a trip to take on Preston North End.

Reading will travel to Lancashire on Sunday in high spirits, having strengthened their grip on a play-off spot following a midweek win over the Sky Blues. Goals from Lucas João, John Swift and Andy Rinomhota were enough to send Mark Robins’ side home empty handed.  

That said, Preston who themselves won during the week, will provide tough opposition, having put three past the Royals at the Madejski back in November. Three points for Veljko Paunović’s side would see us record a third successive league victory, stretching our unbeaten run in the Championship to five matches.

How to watch

Sunday’s trip to Deepdale has been selected for live Sky Sports Coverage, and the televised fixture will kick-off at 12:30pm, after it was pushed back almost 24 hours earlier this month.

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This broadcast selection means that our meeting with Alex Neil's men in Lancashire, will not be available for supporters to watch via iFollow.

The opposition

Preston endured a tough start to the season, but their form has picked up of late. They have now won three of their last five matches, a return that saw them move into the top ten, and within seven points of the play-off spots as of Wednesday night.

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Last time out, the Lilywhites had Scott Sinclair to thank for their success on the road, as they recorded a narrow 1-0 win over a struggling Birmingham City side at St Andrews.

Neil has moved quickly to bolster his squad in the January transfer window, and the Lilywhites have already added Ben Whiteman, Ched Evans, Daniel Iversen and Jayson Molumby to their ranks.

One to watch: Scott Sinclair

The former-Celtic winger arrived at Deepdale in January 2020 and has been a key cog in Alex Neil’s side ever since. With eight goals to his name this season, including a midweek winner against Birmingham City, Sinclair is having a successful second season at Preston.

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The 31-year-old, who has represented England at U21 level, found the net against the Royals back in November, and his goals have inspired the Lilywhites to wins over Brentford, QPR, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.

Sinclair, who began his career with Bristol Rovers, has a wealth of experience not only in the Championship, but the Premier League too, making him one for Reading to be aware of.

Pre-match chat

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Head-to-head

Sunday’s fixture presents the Royals with another opportunity to set the record straight, just like they did against Coventry City, as Preston scored three second-half goals to inflict a 3-0 defeat on Pauno’s men when they met in early November.

Prior to the defeat at the tail end of 2020, Reading had won their last five meetings with Preston, and have won 25 and drawn 12 of a total 62 meetings between the two teams.

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Our last win over Preston came at Deepdale in December 2019, as Swift and João struck to seal a 2-0 win for Reading.

Ref watch

Geoff Eltringham will be the man in the middle at Deepdale, for what will be his second Reading game of the season.

Eltringham officiated our 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City in December, during which Jayden Onen was the only player to be carded.

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Matthew McGrath and Richard Wild will assist Eltringham in Preston, while Darren Bond will be the fourth official on this occasion.

During Eltringham’s 15 league games to date, he has issued 48 yellow cards and an additional four red cards.

Reminder

A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to Deepdale.

We can’t wait to see you all again soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.


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