The Wokingham Paper

PREVIEW: Reading FC hold “no fear” as they look to break Brentford’s unbeaten home run

BIG PIC The struggles continue for Reading as they slip closer towards the relegation zone
Reading lost to Brentford in January

Paul Clement insists Reading will head to Brentford full of confidence on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

The Bees have made a bright start to the Championship season, sitting seventh in the table and they have not lost at Griffin Park since March.

PODCAST: Some positive chat after a winning week for Reading before looking ahead to this weekend’s trip to Brentford

And Clement believes his side can give the away sell-out allocation plenty to cheer.

Paul Clement believes Reading can pick up a result at Brentford

“They’ll be a big threat and they’ve started well,” said Clement.

“But they’ve lost their last two games.

“One was against Arsenal and they lost against Derby at the weekend. There are weaknesses in them that we think we can get at.

“We’re going there in confident mood. We have no fear of going away and playing away from home.

“Our away record is better than our home record so they should expect a very difficult game against us.”

Team news

John O’Shea will miss the trip up the M4 through suspension after being sent off in the 3-0 win over Hull City last weekend.

John O’Shea is suspended

Clement could welcome back Tyler Blackett into the side after he recovered from his hamstring problem while Chris Gunter is also an option. Paul McShane is due back in training in the next couple of days, but is unlikely to be risked from the start.

Elsewhere, Vito Mannone should return to the squad after injury to compete with Sam Walker but David Meyler, Dave Edwards, Jordan Obita and Omar Richards all look set to miss out.

As for Brentford, they made seven changes for their midweek Carabao Cup trip to Arsenal and many of those players rested should return, including top scorer Neal Maupay and centre-back Chris Mepham.

Form

Brentford have not lost at Griffin Park since March.

The Bees have won five out of five at home this campaign with the unbeaten run stretching back 10 games. However, they are winless in three, drawing at Ipswich Town before 3-1 defeats at Derby and Arsenal.

Reading have won two of their last three games and have a better record away than at home this season. The Royals have lost just once in their four games on the road, going down 1-0 at Nottingham Forest in August.

What they said

Reading striker Sam Baldock: “Especially at home, the way Brentford knock the ball around, they’re fearless.

Sam Baldock scored last weekend

“They’re very strong contenders but they’re beatable so that’s what we’ll aim to do.

“You can’t let them have it all their way. They’re a team that likes to have a lot of possession, likes to play the ball around nicely and with a lot of pace so we’ve got to come up with a way of stopping that early on.”

He added: “The sell-out away following is key. Where the tunnel is, you walk out and hopefully you’ll see blue and white to your left and be hearing all the songs belting out.

“When you come back in from the warm-up you’ll see all the fans again so that can nullify the home support from the early stages and hopefully when we’re shooting that way they can suck it into the net.

“Shooting down the hill towards your own fans, the game is never over at Brentford.”

Brentford boss Dean Smith: “Reading have won two out of their last three games. Team selection against Arsenal was half with a mind to Saturday as well.

“We’ve had two back-to-back 3-1 defeats but Wednesday was a massive positive to take into the weekend.

“We’ve got a 100% record at home and we want to continue that.”

Previous meetings

Reading have struggled against Brentford in recent years

In meetings between the two sides, Brentford have the much better recent record.

In the 10 clashes since 2001, the Royals have won just twice with the only win at Griffin Park coming in a 3-1 success in 2015 thanks to a Nick Blackman brace and Orlando Sa strike.

Last season Reading snatched a point in west London via a Liam Kelly penalty, but the Bees won 1-0 at the Mad Stad in January.

Odds

Brentford are the big favourites to pick up all three points, priced at 47/100 with William Hill for victory.

Reading are a big 11/2 to pick up a second straight away win following victory at Preston while the draw is at 7/2.

Liam Kelly scored at Griffin Park last year and he is available at 15/2 to find the net again this weekend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaUbdCI-ubM

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