21 December 2019 16:35
A Christmas clash between two under-performing sides could be vital for both sides in their quest to improve their form going in to 2020, when Reading welcome Derby County to Berkshire. Phillip Cocu, who succeeded Frank Lampard as Derby County manager in the summer, has struggled to replicate the results achieved by his predecessor last season that saw the East Midlands side reach the playoff final. Here are the all the facts and stats you need to know ahead of this Saturday's fixture at the Madejski Stadium. A 1-1 draw against the side at the foot of the Championship table in Barnsley was not good enough, especially when you look at the manner in which we conceded that night. Coupled with the drab 0-0 draw at the bet365 stadium against Stoke City, it hasn't been a great time for the Royals recently.
The Berkshire side have a great opportunity to improve their form with two upcoming home games against the Rams and Queens Park Rangers. Previously ousted full back Chris Gunter is likely to start in place of Andy Yiadom, who's out for the rest of this calendar year, while John Swift is closing in on a return to the first team and should play some part against Derby. Centre back Matt Miazga, who picked up a hamstring injury in training and missed last weekend's tie up in Staffordshire against Stoke City, shouldn't be out for that long either but Saturday may be too soon for him. George Puscas may not be too far away from a return after dislocating his shoulder, while Jordan Obita is fully fit and could start this weekend. The Rams currently sit 16th in the Championship table, a really disappointing position for a side who were 90 minutes away from reaching the Premier League in May. Taking just two points from a possible fifteen has raised questions over the future of Phillip Cocu, who has really struggled for consistency ever since his appointment.
There's no wonder the side are struggling to pick up points away from Pride Park. Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Obita, Moore, Morrison, Gunter, Pele, Adam, Rinomhota, Ejaria, Baldock, Joao John Swift is highly unlikely to start this weekend - that's even if he's in the matchday squad. Joao has scored against Birmingham City and Barnsley recently and has a good opportunity to get on the scoresheet once again this weekend. Although Reading and Derby County haven't been the best at the back in the campaign thus far, I can see this being a cagey affair. Score Prediction: Reading 0-0 Derby County Middlesbrough vs Stoke City (Friday 20th December 7:45pm KO) Jack Marriott could have joined another club before he signed for Derby County, according to Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony. Since his move to the Rams, Marriott has bagged 14 goals in 61 appearances but has struggled to find a regular place in the starting line-up under Phillip Cocu this season. But according to MacAnthony, Derby's old rivals Leeds United enquired about possibly signing the striker in the January window before his arrival at Pride Park. Welcome to live coverage of Reading against Derby County this afternoon in the Championship. Royals, who have won one of their past six matches, can move up two places and above the Rams in the table with a victory.