It may be early days in the new EFL Championship season, but Reading made the perfect start on match day one. The Royals travelled to the Midlands, and beat Derby 2-0 at Pride Park, despite having less possession and fewer attempts, Reading struck twice before the break. Lucas Joao and Ovie Ejaria both found the net, giving the Royals a cushion which they would hold for the second half.
On the other hand, Barnsley experienced an opening day loss at home to Luton Town. The game was a cagey affair, with each side managing only one shot on target. Luton centre forward James Collins made the telling contribution, firing home in the second half to give the Hatters all three points.
Ones to watch
Barnsley forward Cauley Woodrow found the net 14 times in last year's competition, which saw Barnsley survive relegation on a nail-biting final day. The striker was also on target in the Reds' 1-0 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest. Whilst Woodrow's side have a third round match with Chelsea look forward to, the striker will be looking to open his league account this weekend.
For Reading, attacking midfielder Ovie Ejaria may prove to be a key addition to their ranks. The former Liverpool youngster spent two seasons on loan at Reading, before making his move permanent this summer. Ejaria managed three goals and three assists last year, and will be hoping to contribute more attacking returns this season.
The sides met in February 2020, which saw Reading emerge as victors by a 2-0 scoreline. Despite dominating the possession and shooting statistics, Barnsley were hit by an early goal by Yakou Meite. A second goal followed midway through the second half from George Puscas, condemning the Yorkshire side to defeat.
Whilst Reading have no new injury concerns, Barnsley have two players still on the treatment table. Clarke Oduor and Ben Williams have missed the last few games, and may not be fit enough to face the Royals this weekend.
Reading (4-2-3-1): Rafael, Richards, Moore, Morrison, Yiadom, Laurent, Rinomhota, Ejaria, Swift, Olise, Joao.
Barnsley (3-4-1-2): Walton, Williams, Andersen, Sollbauer, Ritzmaier, Styles, Mowatt, Ludewig, Simoes, Chaplin, Woodrow.
"We lost the match but we won a lot of positives that we can take into the future.
"We always go out to win. And we were close. We weren't intimidated by our opponent at any moment.
"But nobody likes to lose. This is football and we also have to learn from our defeats."
"It's a bonus game for us. We have Reading first, and that is a very important game for everyone.
"But after that, we can focus on having a match against Chelsea. We have to work professionally before that because Reading are in very good shape."
How to watch
The game can be purchased via either of the club websites, with the fixture being streamed live on ‘iFollow Royals’ and ‘iFollow Barnsley’.