Lee Johnson’s Bristol City will make the short trip to Reading as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s undeserving 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke City.
The Robins dominated both the possession and the shooting statistics but failed to get the ball over the line, with Senegalese striker Famara Diedhiou heading against the crossbar twice in the second half.
Saturday’s game is a must win for Bristol City as they could find themselves in 15th place in the Championship table if they fail to beat a Reading side who sit in the relegation zone, though, a win for City could potentially see them sneak back into the top six.
City youngsters Mo Eisa and Hakeeb Adelakun are both unlikely to feature on Saturday after appearing, and playing the full 90 minutes, in a behind closed doors friendly against Yeovil Town on Tuesday evening while Nathan Baker could potentially return to the side after a few weeks out through injury.
Former England international Frank Fielding will once again be unavailable to feature due to a recent meningitis problem as well as Finnish shot-stopper Nikki Maenpaa – who will also be sidelined once again due to a knock he picked up in the latter stages of a match against Sheffield Wednesday.
The goalkeeping duo’s injuries will mean that Bath-born Max O’Leary, who has come through the ranks at the club, will make his third consecutive start in goal, after conceding just a single goal in three matches. The 22-year-old only made his full league debut just over a week ago in a 1-0 win against Brentford at Griffin Park.
Andreas Weimann, who was purchased from Derby County in the summer, will be hoping to finally end his goal scoring drought after failing to find the back of the net in over a month, with his last goal coming in a 1-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Lee Johnson is still unsettled on his strike force following constant rotations between Matty Taylor, Famara Diedhiou and top-scorer Andreas Weimann. The lack of goals the trio are scoring is indicated through Austrian ace Weimann being the top-scorer after not scoring for nearly two months.
Bristol City have won eight games in 19 against Reading in this century and came out victorious in both of last season’s clashes, including a Boxing Day 2-0 win at Ashton Gate. Previously, before the two wins last season, City lost seven successive games against their opponents in Saturday’s game.
Reading come into the game off the back of back-to-back Championship defeats but will still be a threat to Bristol City with some great attacking prospects including former City striker Sam Baldock and Jamaican international Gareth McCleary. Also, Jon Dadi Bovarsson, who featured at the World Cup for Iceland with former City defender Hordur Magnusson, will provide a threat going forward after bagging seven goals so far this season.
It will be a must win game for both sides with Bristol City looking to climb back up the Championship ladder and Reading hoping to push away from the dreading relegation zone.
Prediction: Reading 1-3 Bristol City – City will hold too much for Reading in my opinion and Weimann will bag his first goal for nearly two months.
Predicted Line-up: O’Leary; Hunt, Webster, Kalas, Kelly; Eliasson, Brownhill, Pack, O’Dowda; Patterson; Diedhiou
Picture Credit: Bristol City FC