As bad as recent weeks have been, Reading fans can at least comfort themselves in the knowledge that tomorrow’s trip to Norwich City will not be as bad as last year. Surely.
Despite flying high in the league, Jaap Stam’s Royals visited Carrow Road in April and were demolished 7-1 by a rampant Canaries, who led 6-1 at half-time.
This Saturday (3pm) sees a clash of two sides struggling to pick up victories and Reading are certainly in more desperate need of the points heading into the international break.
Defeat at Wolves on Tuesday night leaves Reading 19th in the Championship, six points clear of the relegation zone.
They have now not won in eight matches and only once in 17 league games since November.
But things have not been much better for Norwich either. The Canaries sit 14th and have played four sides below them in the table in the last four games, losing one and drawing three.
Their latest disappointment came in the form of a 1-1 draw at Barnsley on Tuesday evening.
Daniel Farke’s men have not won in seven games, drawing six of those.
Having been rested on Tuesday, John Swift is likely to be involved for Reading tomorrow as he continues to manage his hamstring injury.
Stam will also hope to have Chris Martin available again following a bout of illness while Liam Kelly faces a test over his ankle problem. Yann Kermorgant returned from injury to take his place on the bench at Molineux, so the Frenchman is expected to be in the squad again.
Omar Richards, Paul McShane, Tommy Elphick, Garath McCleary and Jordan Obita all remain sidelined.
There is also a decision to be made between the sticks after Anssi Jaakkola had some nervy moments against Wolves as he kept Vito Mannone out of the side.
As for Norwich, one-time Reading target Nelson Oliveira is set to make a quicker than expected recovery from a calf injury to be named among the substitutes tomorrow.
Christoph Zimmerman and Harrison Reed are also available following illness, but the injured Alex Tettey misses out.
What they said
Stam: “Norwich know that we’ll be going there for a win. They can wait and sit back and look for the opportunities that they get to go forward and that can make it difficult.
“They’re in a position where they don’t need to worry too much. They know that we need to go for it and that can make it a bit easier for them and a bit more difficult for us.
“We need to get a result over there, that’s it. It’s as simple as that.
Farke: “Reading are a team who fights against relegation at the moment and we have to be honest, they do it in a different style because they like to dominate games.
“They like to keep possession and play football and before the season started, you would say they would be fighting for promotion rather than relegation.
“It’s a good proof of how tough the league is. They have many players with a high individual class, especially in the offensive areas.
“It will be important that we are able to be patient when Reading have possession. In this game, it’s important not to lose nerves and be concentrated when they have the ball.”
As well as the 7-1 humiliation, Norwich also won the reverse fixture this season at Madejski Stadium. It was 2-1 on that afternoon with goals from James Maddison and Cameron Jerome cancelling out Liam Moore’s strike.
Reading’s last win at Carrow Road came in 2014 when a Jake Cooper brace secured a 2-1 success.
In the 74 meetings between both sides, Reading have won 29 to Norwich’s 27 with 18 draws.
Who else is in action?
There is a full round of Championship action this weekend. The big game at the bottom sees 22nd placed Birmingham hosting Hull, who have recently climbed up to 17th.
Barnsley take on play-off chasing Millwall at 1pm while Sheffield Wednesday travel to Leeds. Sunderland host Preston and Burton go to leaders Wolves. Bolton welcome Aston Villa in the tea-time game.
Despite their poor form, Norwich are odds on for victory at 5/6 while Reading are big outsiders, priced at 7/2. The draw is available at 12/5.
Both teams to score looks like a decent offering at evens.