Football returns to Griffin Park after three weeks away with Reading making the short journey down the M4 tomorrow. The Royals head to West London on the back of three wins in four while we are looking for a fifth win in six. All the information ahead of the game can be found below.
- We are unbeaten in three home league matches against Reading since a 3-1 defeat in August 2015 under Marinus Dijkhuizen.
- Reading midfielder John Swift has created 50 chances in the Championship this season - 13 more than any other player. He has also registered six assists, the same as Niclas Eliasson and Matheus Pereira.
- We have won more Championship points in our past five games (12) than any other side in the division.
- Reading manager Mark Bowen has won 10 points in his four league games in charge - two more than they won in their first 11 matches of the season (8)
Optimism in Berkshire was in short supply over the summer as Reading got set to begin their seventh straight season in the second tier. Back-to-back 20th-placed finishes didn't promise much and a run of just two wins in 11 to open the season did little to lift the mood either.
However, since former Sporting Director Mark Bowen replaced Jose Gomes in October, The Royals have reeled off three wins in four, including one over Preston North End, to climb away from the relegation places.
The Royals have struggled for goals this term but, when they have come, former Brentford loanee John Swift (pictured above) or Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria have tended to be involved. Swift has two goals and six Championship assists to his name while the electric Ejaria has contributed three goals and two assists.
It would be fair to say that Mark Bowen's appointment didn't go down well initially with Reading fans. Appointed as The Royals' Sporting Director in August, he was the man who led the search to replace Jose Gomes and eventually came to the conclusion that if you want a job done properly, do it yourself.
A left-back with Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, for whom he made 399 appearances, and Charlton Athletic among others, the former Welsh International retired in 2000. His coaching career began with The Royals and took in stops at Crystal Palace and Birmingham City alongside Steve Bruce before he joined Mark Hughes' coaching staff with the Welsh National Team. Bowen was a loyal assistant to Hughes at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, and Southampton before branching out to become Reading's technical advisor in March of this year.
Thomas Frank has a number of injuries and suspensions to contend with ahead of tomorrow's game. Joel Valencia is set to miss a number of weeks with a shoulder-injury, joining Sergi Canos, Nikos Karelis, and Josh Clarke on the injury table. Christian Norgaard serves his one game suspension for five bookings while Julian Jeanvier begins his three game ban following dismissal at Wigan Athletic. Said Benrahma missed that trip to The DW Stadium but is in contention for a return on Saturday.
For Reading, Lucas Boye is back in contention but Lucas Joao and Jordan Obita are set to miss out.
THOMAS FRANK'S PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
We're well on course for our highest attendance of the season on Saturday and our Ticket Exchange is now open. Season Ticket Holders who can’t make it this weekend can now return their tickets here.
With the ticket exchange open, tickets on the Ealing Road Terrace are now available here
Until tomorrow at 10am, tickets not returned in the exchange are available from £23 Adults and £8 Juniors. Give Thomas Frank your support and give us the true meaning of a home advantage.
HOW TO FOLLOW
iFollow Brentford will be live from 2.30pm with Mark Burridge, Marcus Gayle, and Stuart Hughes. Click below to find out more about how you can follow the game wherever you are.
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