Match preview: Reading v Ipswich Town – All you need to know
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town take on fellow Championship strugglers Reading at the Madejski Stadium this afetrnoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the action.
Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse says the players are ‘more then confident’ they can steer the club out of the Championship relegation zone.
The Blues are five points adrift of everybody else at the bottom of the Championship table heading into this afternoon’s crucial clash at fellow-strugglers Reading.
Town have not played outside of the top two divisions of English football since 1957, but they have escaped from this sort of sticky situation before and there is renewed hope they can do so again following a vastly improved display under new boss Paul Lambert last weekend.
“As much as we are keeping the morale high, we’re not hiding away from the fact that we’re bottom of the league,” said Skuse.
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“Relegation isn’t something you want to go through in your career. It was a horrible, horrible feeling when it happened to me (at Bristol City in 2012/13).
“I hope this isn’t speaking out of turn but I don’t see parallels between now and then. Bristol City was my team for a long, long time but we’re in a much better place here.
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“We’re lucky in the sense that there are still plenty of games to play and we feel as if we have a very, very good squad.
“We’ve also got a very good manager and staff who give us the guidance that we need. And, who knows, come January there might be some new additions to help us.
“That’s a managerial decision, of course, but we’re more than confident we are going to get out of the situation we are in.”
Reading boss Paul Clement is under pressure going into today’s game, the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich coach admitting last weekend’s 3-2 home win against Bristol City may have saved his job.
Town are set to be backed by more than 2,000 away fans at the Madejski Stadium.
“It’ll be a tough game but I won’t change, I’ll go there and try and win,” said Blues boss Lambert, whose team were on the front foot for much of last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Preston.
“There won’t be too many systems or change because I think you confuse people every time you change, change, change.
“Everything I’ve asked them to work on in this last week or so they’ve taken on board. They’ve given me everything and they’re enthusiastic to learn the game. We’ve had absolutely not one problem with them.
“I think when you come to a club and they’ve been beaten or are not getting results and the feeling’s not good you tend to find sometimes that your team don’t even like the team and our job is to try and rectify this to get it up and running.
“Probably the only one who was happy with the team was myself, we just had to get them going a little bit and they’ve done brilliant. Honestly, I’ve got no issues at all. We’re ready for the game and we’ll go and try and win.”
Ipswich Town team news
– Paul Lambert has no new injury worries ahead of the visit to Reading.
– Myles Kenlock will not be involved as he works his way back to full fitness following an ankle problem, while Jon Nolan remains sidelined with a dead leg.
– Teddy Bishop has been training with the Ipswich first-team but Lambert says the midfielder will not be rushed back as he continues his journey back to fitness.
– Grant Ward was left out of the 18 for Lambert’s first game in charge but the Blues boss says the midfielder’s ‘time will come’.
– Teenage forward Jack Lankester is in consideration for his first Ipswich start, with Lambert describing the youngster as a ‘huge talent’.
Reading team news
– Leading scorer and former Town target Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is out with a broken bone in his back.
– Yakou Meite, who has four goals in the last four games, is also a major doubt with an ankle injury.
– Saeid Ezatolahi (quad), Jordan Obita, Dave Edwards (both knee), Anssi Jaakkola (muscle strain), Omar Richards (hip/groin), Pelle Clement, Adrian Popa and Vito Mannone (all ankle) are also sidelined.
– Ipswich fan Sam Walker, formerly of Colchester, is set to start in goal for the Royals.
366 – Minutes since Town scored from open play
5 – Home defeats for Reading (W3 D0)
• Prior to last season’s 4-0 victory, Town had lost six straight games at Reading (F3 A12)
Last five finishes: 20th, 3rd, 17th, 19th, 7th (all Championship)
Manager: Paul Clement (Mar ‘18: W7 D5 L14)
Last game: W 3-2 Bristol City (h)
Form: WLLWL LDWLW
Last home attendance: 14,455
Loan players: Josh Sims (Southampton)
Most league starts: Yiadom (16), Moore (14), Meite, Bacuna (13), Ilori, Kelly (12)
Most league goals: Bodvarsson (7), Meite, Baldock (4), Bacuna (3)
Carabao Cup: 2nd rd: L 2-0 Watford (a)
Players used in league: 26
Reading 0 Ipswich Town 4
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Town scored four late goals – including two in stoppage-time – to thrash the relegation-threatened Royals under Bryan Klug’s caretaker management. Martyn Waghorn (71), Jordan Spence (79), Freddie Sears and Callum Connolly were on the scoresheet.
Opposition key man
In the absence of Bodvarsson and the Royals potentially being without Meite, the hosts are likely to rely on Baldock to lead the line.
The former West Ham, Bristol City and Brighton man has four goals to his name this season and doesn’t give defenders a moment’s peace.
Reading win – 13/10
Draw – 23/10
Ipswich win – 5/2
Darren Bond (Lancashire)
Reading 0 Ipswich Town 1
Reading have forward men sidelined and their recent wins, despite the scorelines, have been far from convincing by all accounts. Saw enough improvement in Ipswich last weekend to believe they can sneak a much-needed win.