Often Partisan

Royally Good Test For Blues: Reading Preview

Lee Clark faces a happy selection headache ahead of Birmingham City’s trip to the Madejski stadium after two convincing victories on the bounce.


The Royals are boosted by the loan signing of Billy Sharp from Southampton and he could go straight into the squad along with full back Wayne Bridge who is returning from injury. Danny Guthrie should also play despite having a shoulder knock.

Reading lie seventh in the table and are unbeaten in four Championship games since being thrashed 6-0 by Peterborough in the Capital One Cup. In that space of time the only goal that they have conceded was scored by Will Hughes of Derby in their last game and they remain unbeaten at the Madejski this campaign.


Lee Clark will have to make some difficult decisions about who to keep in his squad and who to drop with so many players having played well over the week. David Murphy returns after being rested, Wade Elliott and Nikola Zigic return from injuries whilst Jesse Lingard and Kyle Bartley come back into the equation having not been eligible for the Capital One Cup game.

Blues should stay 3-4-3, and I would expect that Murphy will come back in for Hancox and Lingard will come in for Ferguson on the left; however I think Caddis will retain his place and Spector will remain in the centre of defence meaning Kyle Bartley will miss out. Matt Green should retain his place up front but Blues probably will include Nikola Zigic on the bench giving the team another option for the last twenty minutes.

This is a tougher test than Sheffield Wednesday and it’s going to be intriguing to see if Blues can take the confidence of the last two games forward. As a unit they’ve been fairly solid defensively – however they have lost concentration at set pieces and Clark will need to ensure that their minds are focussed for ninety minutes.

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36 Responses to “Royally Good Test For Blues: Reading Preview”

  • Bluehobba says:

    Must keep it tight at the back to give us a chance I’d like to say we will win but a draw would be a good result at their place 1-1 for me, kro

  • Poppa999 says:

    As long as Jessie gets four we should be okay.


  • TonyE says:

    Wouldn’t argue with your conclusions Al, but also wouldn’t be surprised if Specs plays alongside Tom A as 2 defensive central mids at the exclusion of Reilly, we’ll see.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Reading appear to play 4-3-3 home and away, so I hope Lee Clark doesn’t change things and match them up. As for selection, who knows? All I can say, is that whoever misses out, can consider themselves very unfortunate.

  • Chris W says:

    Hopefully reading are not the next Burnley, LC has many alternatives he can put on the bench to change things.
    Only 11 players can be on the pitch, for me that would be, with the exception of Ferguson for Bartley the 11 who started against Sheffield Wednesday.
    If we don’t concede any early goals and they maintain the momentum, keep it tight as they have so far this season and hit them on the break,I fancy 2-1 to Blues, but will be happy with a draw in this game.

  • dave mann says:

    keep it as it was for last two games 3-4-3 when weve been superb, dont change it because
    of the opposition, zigic, murphy, lingard, bartley all comming back so thats great and competition
    should be good for the first 11 so bring it on, for what its worth this would be my team.
    bartley, burn, murphy
    caddis, adeyemi, riley, ferguson
    burke, green, lingard.
    zigic, robinson,doyle,elliot,shinnie on the bench or something like that. KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    adeyemi and riley wednesday against swansea were magnificent, that should not be
    changed, the other two shouts, fair enough but i do like the look of both teams dont
    you think, lets hope we get something today because with two home games comming
    up with millwall and bolton we could shoot up that table big time and really turn our
    season around. KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    dare i say it but over the last two games we really do look like a team, lets hope reading
    dont burst our bubble, a wim there will prove were on our way back and as ive said two
    home games to come and a couple more wins there and were top half pushing the
    playoffs but lets wait and see and not get to carried away! KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Reading are doing well so far, albeit unspectacular. A defeat there wouldn’t be the end of the world, or signal the end of our good form. I’m expecting a draw myself.. maybe 2-2.

      But, if we can see off Millwall and Bolton in our next 2 home games, we’ll be doing ok.

  • bluenoserob says:

    noticed online that Dele Adabola is still playing , think blues fans would say he could have been a hell of a player , even still 40 odd goals in 120 games for us was pretty good .Best of luck to the big man , always had a smile on his face as i remember , and that night he scared the s**t out of spurs at white hart lane , great memories.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    So it’s 3-4-3 again. Interesting omissions though.

  • AuldBertie says:

    Once again our only consistency is our inconsistency. Six points from the next two home games are now vital.

  • Art Watson says:

    Just mirrors what happened last season under Clark.

    Better get use to it until he goes!

  • AuldBertie says:

    I’m not Clark’s biggest fan Art but I think the players have to take most of the blame today. Players who were superb on wednesday just couldn’t do it today and two sloppy free kicks (the 2nd a poor decision by the ref by all accounts) did for us. If we play like we did wednesday on tuesday and saturday hopefull we’ll get the points.

    • Art Watson says:

      I’m not a Clark fan either but for the sake of the future of our club I hope he can get it right but I don’t think he will.Performances are and have been very inconsistent and this has been his main problem since his appointment.

      He’s no doubt a genuine guy but sadly he’s out of his depth -we need a manager who can get the very best out of a team who clearly lack quality in a very tough league.

  • Chris W says:

    Not the result we wanted but probably one we truly expected. Reading are on a decent run and expected to be in the mix next May.
    We do need everyone to be at the races every game but again this is not happening, I was surprised at some of today’s selection and thought LC would have stuck with those from last week with others on the bench.
    LC is the man in charge and paid to make the decisions on who plays etc, and though he did tinker too much, it did not work out for him, once again we didn’t seem to get the rub of the green from the officials either.
    We now have two home games against Millwall and Bolton; these should bear some favourable points and give us some breathing space from the bottom as they all play teams in the top half of the table over the next two games. Downhearted at the loss but still optimistic we will finish mid table.

  • FrankieCopyit says:

    Oh dear, a few ‘I’m not Clark’s biggest fan ‘ out again .. Make you want to despair.
    Do they seriously expect Birmingham to win every game ?
    We played really well after the break and frankly ought to have shared the points.
    Even with the limited knowledge some of these people have, even they would have seen that it was a decent performance today, if they’d been there.

    • Chris W says:

      Thats half the problem, most of the anti Clark brigade don’t go to away matches and the other half expect us to win the league and cup.
      Those of us who put the effort in to attend matches home and away can see what LC is trying to do and with limited to zero funds.
      Hopefully we will have a few more attending Tuesday, with the same vocal support as against Swansea and we should burst Millwalls bubble, they are having a decent run at present.

  • DoctorD says:

    It’s annoying to lose, but remember all our defeats, apart from Brighton, have been to five of the teams in the top six. Our wins have been at clubs at the bottom, while our one draw is with mid-table Ipswich.

    A season of mid-table mediocrity beckons.

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    We played reasonably well yesterday, passed the ball around well and had about half the possession. Reading however made better use of the ball in the final third and Randolph had to make several high quality saves. The second goal killed us off. Reading are a good side and so nothing to be ashamed of. Still it’s a little concerning that we’ve not scored in our last 3 away games. Zigic looked ok when he came on. Now need to make these next two home games count.

  • steve says:

    I hope that corner some people said we were turning doesn’t turn out to be a U turn. 2 Home wins now are vital imo

  • mark says:

    to be beaten by two very good sets pieces is always disappointing, and giving away silly fouls around your box someone will make you pay as reading did this definately a big learning curve for some players………….. if anything can be salvage from this season this will put us in good stead for next season…….. players adapting to formations, building their own experiences in this division can only be good for blues…..imo we will still finish higher than most fans think…………kro whether we like or not there are better teams in this division than blues, some fans need to move on and accept this. For me as long as they give 100% fight for the shirt i have no problems……………………

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