Surprise surprise, Sky Sports have chosen to give full coverage to Leeds…again. Even their fans are fed up of it now. Sky have done amazing things for football in this country, and we should never forget that, but I think they are at the very limit, if not slightly over it at the moment.
I don’t look at Tuesday’s game with much optimism, I don’t think any Reading fans do, but football is a funny game. I now dread reading the team news an hour before kick-off, and Saturday’s line-up did nothing to change that.
I think most Reading fans active on social media have said their piece on Gunter and Aluko, and I most certainly have said my piece on Swift and Kelly playing in this system together. I can’t credit them but one fan on Twitter suggested that Bacuna and Yiadom, who both racked up a few air miles over the international break were being rested for Tuesday’s fixture. If true I can’t really argue with the principle. I would much rather see them play against Leeds and Stoke next Saturday.
Before the game I would certainly have settled for a clean sheet, as I would for any away game at this stage of the season. I can’t understand the belief that a point away at Wigan is unacceptable. This squad has been poor for nearly a season-and-a-half now, so I’m very much satisfied with an away point.
As is the case for most games, there were unexpected injuries to the squad. Sam Baldock was the unknown injury this time around, and Paul Clement revealed after the game that he has a small hamstring injury. He also said that Baldock is already running again, and certainly hasn’t been ruled out of the game against Stoke.
Paul McShane certainly doesn’t warrant a new contract in the summer, as his injury woes continue. I expect Tiago Ilori to come into the side on Tuesday. As one of the quickest players in the squad, his mobility must surely be factored in given the physical strengths of the Leeds squad. This may be in place of O’Shea or we might see a back three/five. I would much rather prefer a back four, and Ilori replacing O’Shea – that is not to say that he has done much wrong, but three games in a week may be a tough ask.
Leandro Bacuna simply must start on Tuesday. I hope that is in place of John Swift. He is somewhat of a luxury player, and can’t see him shining at Elland Road, where we can’t expect to have too much possession.
Josh Sims made a positve impact from the bench on Saturday, and certainly warrants a start, and may be better suited to a counter attacking line-up. It would be an extremely bold call for Danny Loader to start, but again, football is a funny game. His age, and the fact that Marc McNulty really hasn’t been given much opportunity to shine, should mean that Loader is not thrown in at the deep end.
With that in mind, this is my predicted 11 for Tuesday’s fixture, where I’m predicting a 2-0 defeat for the Royals;
GK: Anssi Jaakkola
RB: Andy Yiadom
CB: Liam Moore (C)
CB: Tiago Ilori
LB: Tyler Blackett
CM: Liam Kelly
CM: Andy Rinomhota
CM: Leandro Bacuna
RM: Garath McCleary
ST: Yakou Meite
LM: Josh Sims
Picture Credit: Reading FC