Reading vs Newcastle United Preview: League-leading Magpies look to continue excellent away form

Reading vs Newcastle United Preview: League-leading Magpies look to continue excellent away form

The Magpies' terrible trio of away fixtures will conclude at the Madjeski Stadium as Newcastle take on Reading, looking to build on their five point advantage at the top of the table.

katielmishner
Katie Mishner

One week on from when it started, Newcastle United will end their tricky trio of away fixtures at the Madjeski Stadium against fifth-place Reading. 

The cluster of games has been a talking point in the Championship as the Magpies came up against the teams that were sat above and below them in the table, Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Having conquered them both, Newcastle have a chance to strengthen their sterling away record which currently stands at 13 games unbeaten.

However, the Royals will not let them get away that easy as the team in blue and white now have the best home record - losing only twice all season in front of their own fans.

One week, three fixtures

In the past week the Magpies have been involved with three games, while the home team should be less fatigued as they have played one less match than the visitors.

However, Rafael Benitez's rotation techniques and an element of depth have prepared them for these sort of encounters, which frequent in the second tier.

Reading manager Jaap Stam commented on Newcastle's squad as he said: "It's going to be a hard game. Newcastle have got a lot of quality within their squad.

The Dutch boss added: "Benitez has about 50 players, but that's what happens if you're working at a big club with the funds to make a good team. We're going to work very hard to get a result, as we want to work hard for the fans and to stay up towards the top of the table."

Both teams bounce into this game off the back of wins. Reading defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at the weekend to keep them close within the battle for promotion.

The play-off spots are currently only separated by four points, and the Royals are only two points away from third place Huddersfield. Although, many would argue that the performance was still lacklustre.

Newcastle also have the bonus of being on an 12-game unbeaten streak in the league. The home team's latest losses were not too long ago as they played Brighton and Huddersfield recently, in which they were beaten both times.

Full house

Despite a good run of results, Reading have not enjoyed high attendance at their home stadium.  However, for this particular fixtures the club tweeted out that there was only a few hundred tickets left. 

Additionally, the Geordie faithful have sold out yet another away allocation and will no doubt bring the noise as they look to strengthen their hold on the league title.

Head-to-head

The last meeting between the two teams was at St James' Park where Benitez's men comprehensively shut Reading down with a 4-1 loss. That was their ninth victory over the team, in 14 meetings. Now, they face them away, which is where their form strength lies.

Another interesting snippet of information is that after winning their first two league games against Newcastle at the Madejski Stadium, Reading have drawn with and lost to Newcastle at their home.

The last time the Royals managed a clean sheet against their North East visitors was 2007, and they do not have a strong record with conceding as Reading have only managed to score three more goals than they have let in this season.

This is the weakest goal difference within the top six and is a statistic pales in comparison to Newcastle's surplus of 40 goals.

Bouncing back from injury

Newcastle's Dwight Gayle made an appearance, and earned his 21st goal, last time out. Leeds United's Chris Wood has overtaken the number nine in the race to for the golden boot.

Manager Benitez has set the task for the young forward to go forth and become the division's top goal scorer again, asserting his faith in the striker that he acquired from Crystal Palace in the summer transfer window.

Other than the two long term injuries, with Gayle back in the squad, that means there are no fresh injuries that the Magpies need to deal with.

While Gayle was able to see out the rest of the game at the weekend, Benitez assured the press that "nothing has been decided yet" regarding team selection.

Alluding back to the aforementioned squad depth, Newcastle do have a secret weapon in Irishman Daryl MurphyThe striker is proving to be a bargain as he also found the net in his start against Huddersfield.

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