Reading vs Huddersfield  Town preview: Terriers looking for vital points in relegation scrap
Reading v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
READING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Yakou Meite of Reading celebrates with his teammates after scoring his sides thid goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Derby County at Madejski Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Reading, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Mark Bowen's Reading gained their first win since the restart in scintillating  fashion by disposing of bottom side Luton Town 5-0 on Saturday.

Ivorian wide-man Yakou Meite scored four goals in the rout, which was supplemented by record signing George Puscas' header.

Meanwhile Huddersfield held play-off chasing Preston North End to a goalless draw at John Smith's Stadium, leaving them just two points clear of the relegation zone.

 

Key Battle

With danger man Karlan Grant on 18 league goals, the key battle will no doubt be about stopping him.

As Reading captain Liam Moore was dropped for Saturday's win over Luton, Academy graduate Tom McIntyre was left with the role of stopping James Collins at Kenilworth Road.

Having kept a clean sheet, and also being named in the EFL Team of the Week, the youngster will hope to start again alongside experienced head Michael Morrison.

Grant will provide a different challenge to Collins, with his shorter frame and extra yard of pace.

It will be a good test for the young centre-half, and one he will hope to pass with flying colours.

 

Previous Meeting

Back in August it was Reading who travelled back down south with the three points following a 2-0 win.

Following Jan Siewart's dismissal the previous week, it was former player Mark Hudson who prepared the team.

They were sat in the bottom three with just a single point to their name.

Despite a promising start for the home team, the Royals rode their luck and took the few chances that came their way.

Late goals from Ovie Ejaria and Morrison sealed the win for Jose Gomes' side, their second win in a week which saw the team play two of the three sides relegated from the Premier League the previous campaign.

 

Team News

For the home side, Matt Miazga will miss out, with this being the third of a three game ban.

Right back Andy Yiadom is nearing a return, but following Gabe Osho's display on Saturday it is unlikely that the Ghanaian will be risked.

Meanwhile Danny Cowley hopes to have Jaden Brown back for selection following a spell on the sidelines due to a bout of appendicitis.

Former Royal Tommy Elphick and Juninho Bacuna will miss out thanks to injury and suspension respectively.

 

Manager's Thoughts

Bowen is looking for consistency for the final five games of the season, and that starts on Tuesday.

He told the club website:

"There is always something to play for in football. Myself and the staff won’t put up with just trying to see the season out. We have to push these players on to get results for the club.

"I said to the players after we'd lost 3-0 at home to Brentford last Tuesday – the thing that infuriates me is that we’re better than we showed last week. And we showed that four days later. So it's consistency we have to push for in every single game.

"We need to strive for that consistency in the last five games. When we put the effort in and work to the game plan, we can be a difficult side to beat, horrible to play against but also with very good players when we get the ball in good areas.

"So we have got to make sure it wasn’t just a one-off on Saturday. The group of players I’ve got have got the ability to compete and beat the best sides in this division. But we’ve got to find that consistency."

Despite being wary of the threat Reading possess, Cowley is looking forward to the run in.

He told the club website:

“Reading are a very good team. They’re excellent with the ball, what they did to Luton they have the capabilities in their group to do that to anybody.

“They’ve got real athleticism, lots of power and they carry real threat with the ball.

“The only way we can make it change is by putting our focus and energy into the bits that we can control which is our performance, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We’ve got a big week ahead of us; it’s a week that we’re looking forward to.”

 

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