Brentford vs Reading
Saturday 16 September 2017
Griffin Park, 3pm
Sky Bet Championship
Reading were within a whisker of winning promotion back to the Premier League last season and will be hoping to go one better this time around. Reading finished third in the Championship last season and worked their way past Fulham in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. That set up a winner-takes-all contest with Huddersfield Town at Wembley for a place in the top flight that was won by the Yorkshire side on penalties after a rather dull 0-0 draw.
That performance last season was built on a strong home record, which saw them win 16 of 23 games. They won 26 games in all last term and that was enough to get them to third position despite having the worst defence in the top seven, and only two teams in the top half conceded more goals. But it was not enough to win them promotion.
This year Reading have been inconsistent, winning two and losing three of their first six games. They did not play on Tuesday as scheduled opponents Barnsley were in Carabao Cup action. That means they come in to the match 17th in the table but with games in hand on those above them.
Jaap Stam was appointed as Reading boss in June 2016 and almost took them to the Premier League at the first attempt. The former Manchester United defender replaced the outgoing Brian McDermott when he arrived 15 months ago. Stam was renowned as one of the best defenders in the world during his playing days which included spells with PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan, Lazio, and Ajax.
At United, Stam won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and the UEFA Champions League to add to nine other domestic honours picked up over the course of his career. He was voted into the PFA Team of the Year three times and won the UEFA Club Best Defender of the Year prize twice. He earned 67 international caps for Holland and finished fourth in the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
The 45-year-old moved into coaching in 2011 at his first club PEC Zwolle, helping them to promotion from the Eerste Divisie, before becoming an assistant at Ajax in 2013. He joined Reading on a two-year contract last summer but committed his future to the Club by signing a new deal at the end of last season.
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