Reading are set to take on Blackburn in a mid-table Championship clash at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
The home side are currently in fourteenth position on twenty seven points while the visitors are two places higher on twenty eight points.
The close nature of the Championship means that a win for either side could see them climb up the table. Reading could achieve tenth place with a win and Blackburn could climb to the same spot with a victory.
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The main talking point ahead of the match is the return of Reading manager Brian McDermott who is making a sensational comeback three years after leaving the team.
Reading previously had a winning record under McDermott and they will be hoping to get back to their old winning ways, starting with Sunday’s contest. McDermott will immediately be faced by a minor crisis in terms of the fitness of his defensive players.
Andrew Taylor will be missing due to a rib problem. A groin strain looks set to see Anton Ferdinand held out of Blackburn’s visit. The defensive misery is capped off by the absence of Chris Gunter who is suffering from a cut eye.
It has been almost a month since Reading last managed to win, having suffered several league losses in a row including the recent 2-1 defeat away at Hull.
An interesting storyline in the game for Blackburn is that midfield players Danny Guthrie and Hope Akpan could both make appearances in their return to former club Reading. Whether the pressure of returning to their former home, the Madejski, impacts upon their performance remains to be seen.
The chances of a win for the visitors have been boosted by news that Doneil Henry could be reinstated in defense after missing recent action due to a hamstring problem.
Reading have a dreadful historical track record in the league against Blackburn, having failed to win in twelve games.
The recent run of bad results for Reading means that they may lack the belief needed to turn it around against Blackburn.
However, the feelgood factor inspired by the return of McDermott means that the result is very unpredictable. It is likely that the visitors will be attacking firing on all cylinders in an attempt to exploit the defensive fragilities of the hosts.
McDermott may very well deploy a counter attacking strategy, seeking to find opportunities on the break.