Reading vs Blackburn Rovers preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Reading take on Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, with both sides desperate for the three points, but for very different reasons.

Paul Ince and his side will be looking to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone, while the Lancashire side will continue their quest to secure a play-off spot.

  • Team news

Reading 

The Royals should have John Swift back available after he missed the draw with Bournemouth last week due to Covid-19. He is expected to be the only change from the team that drew with the Cherries last time out.

They will once again be without Abdul Rahman Baba as the left back continues to deal with a hamstring injury. Femi Azeez, Dejan Tetek and Felipe Araruna will also also be unavailable as the trio remain side lined with long term injuries.

Alen Halilovic is doubtful, but hasn't been completely ruled out of potential involvement.

Blackburn Rovers

Rovers will once again be missing key player Ben Brereton Diaz as the Chilean international continues to deal with a ruptured ankle ligament.

Ian Poveda, Tayo Edun and Deyovaisio Zeefuik are all still unavailable.

After a couple of appearances off the bench, Bradley Dack may make a long-awaited return to the starting line up this weekend, over a year since his last start for the club.

Right-back Ryan Nyambe is in contention for a return to the side after he has missed their last four fixtures, but will likely only make the bench.

  • Predicted lineups

Reading 

Nyland, Yiadom, Holmes, Morrison, McIntyre, Laurent, Rinomhota, Ince, Swift, Ejaria, João.

Blackburn Rovers

Kaminski, Lenihan, van Hecke, Wharton, Giles, Travis, Rothwell, Pickering, Dack, Gallagher, Dolan.

  • Form guide

Reading

The Royals are currently winless in their last four games, but will be spurred on by their 1-1 draw with second placed Bournemouth last time out. 

Their previous three before that are results they will quickly want to forget, losing 4-1, 1-0 and 4-0 to Blackpool, Millwall and Nottingham Forest respectively.

Ince's men have won just twice in 2022, beating Preston North End 3-2 and Birmingham City 2-1, both coming in the middle of February.

Blackburn Rovers

Rovers have had a torrid 2022 so far, winning just four games and scoring six goals since the turn of the year.

The Lancashire team have struggled to find the back of the net in recent months, but will hope to put that behind them after their superb 3-1 win over Derby County on Tuesday. 

Before their win over Wayne Rooney's side, Rovers had won just once in their previous nine, form not befitting that of a play-off contender, with a 2-0 loss to Fulham, a 0-0 draw with Millwall and a 1-0 loss to Bristol City their most recent outings.

  • Ones to watch

Reading

John Swift has been a rare bright spark in an otherwise dull season for Reading so far this year. 

With 11 goals and 13 assists to his name, the Englishman has been the driving force for the Royals offensively throughout the campaign, and his return would be a huge boost for them. 

The 26-year-old had been in fine form before his brief spell out, with four goal contributions in his previous four games, and with his contract set to expire in the summer, Reading will be faced with the very real possibility he is nearing the end of his tenure at the club.

Blackburn Rovers

Bradley Dack's return to the first team after a year out injured should provide a huge boost to the club's playoff hopes, with the midfielder already demonstrating the sort of talent he has to offer in their recent win over Derby.

Having replaced Bradley Johnson at the interval, Dack wasted no time in showing Rovers just what they had been missing when he delivered a delicious ball to the back post for Tyrhys Dolan to head the Blue and Whites in front. It was a perfect example of the sort of offensive creativity they had been sorely lacking over recent months and Dack's return could help bring the team's struggles in front of goal to an end.

After returning from a long-term injury last season, the Englishman seemed to be finally finding his stride and scored twice in three games before another serious injury kept him out of action for a further 12 months, but now that he has returned, he will inevitably play a key role in the final stages of Rovers' season as they chase the playoffs.

  • Previous meetings

Reading will be out for revenge after losing the reverse fixture against Rovers 2-0 at Ewood Park back in October. Goals from Sam Gallagher and Dolan sealed the three points for Mowbray's side.

The two teams have traded wins over the last couple of years, with the sides splitting their last six meetings with three wins apiece. 

Reading did the double over Rovers last season, with a 4-2 victory at Ewood Park and a 1-0 win at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

You'd have to go back to August 2018 to find the last time the two team's drew, with Rovers coming back two goals down to share the spoils thanks to two second-half penalties from former captain Charlie Mulgrew.

  • Where to watch

Fans outside of the UK can purchase match passes for the game on either club's website.

Audio match passes will also be available for fans to purchase on either club's official websites.

  • What the managers have said

Reading

Ince wants fans to get behind his team when they face Rovers at the weekend and believes their support is vital to the Royals going forward.

"We need to be all together on this. We can't have any negativity - it is a team effort and our fans are part of the team," he said.

"Hopefully on Saturday it'll be rocking. If we perform the way we did on Tuesday we will get them onside."

Blackburn Rovers

Rovers boss Mowbray feels the fixture is an important one for his side, amidst their play-off race, and wants to see his team going into the international break with momentum.

He said: "Reading's an important game for us, we don't want to go into the break on the back of a defeat.

The table is so tight, there's a lot of teams around us playing each other, they can't all get three points every week."

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