City Ground, Saturday 23rd August 2014, kick off 3pm
- Forest’s impressive start to the season continued on Tuesday night away at promotion hopefuls Bournemouth, goals from Britt Assombalonga and Matty Fryatt secured the points for the Reds. Meanwhile, Reading have lacked consistency early on in the new campaign, managing a defeat, draw and a win.
- The previous meeting between the sides ended in a 1-1 draw with Reading snatching a point with the last kick of the game after a Greg Halford opener.
- It’s been a summer of departures from the Madejski, 14 have left with just the 4 coming in (2 from Forest). The highest profile of those to exit being Adam Le Fondre and Wayne Bridge.
Forest have had a fantastic second week of the season. Two tricky away days have been dealt with astutely, gaining 4 points, and midfield ace Henri Lansbury has signed a new 3-year deal amidst speculation over his future. Britt Assombalonga has started his Reds career just how he finished his Posh one; scoring goals. After a pummelling from Bournemouth in the first 45 minutes and an early goal in the second half, it was his accurate header which forged a road to victory for Forest in midweek. 3 goals in 4 games have left Forest fans praying that he will be the man to, finally, fire them into the big time.
A big piece of business for Forest is the previously mentioned new contract for Lansbury. Despite his niggling injury problems he remains a key man for the Reds and will be welcomed back into the matchday squad with open arms come Saturday. He stated his main reason for sticking with the Midlanders was due to the fantastic support the fans have shown during his time at the City Ground. This was illustrated on Tuesday as 1300 Reds travelled all the way down to Bournemouth for the clash.
Plaudits have already streamed through to Stuart Pearce after a successful start to his reign. A double switch against Bournemouth which saw Ben Osborn and Jack Hunt take to the field changed the game, Hunt providing the assist for Forest’s winning goal. Even though it’s irrelevant at this stage in the season, Forest fans will enjoy seeing their side top and hope it becomes a regular occurrence throughout the campaign.
Following relegation from the Premier League, Reading came unstuck on the final day of last season, missing out on the Play Offs by a solitary point after a last gasp winner at the City Ground from Brighton’s Leonardo Ulloa. After that near miss hopes would’ve been high for this season but it’s been a far from ideal summer for the Club. Ownership troubles, a lack on incomings and an array of players leaving have left Reading fans a bit nervy about the 2014/15 season.
The Berkshire Club have made 2 of their 4 signings this summer from Forest with Simon Cox’s return and the loan deal for tenacious winger Jamie Mackie. However, they may lack the fire power to replace the goals of Adam Le Fondre
who recently signed for promotion rivals Cardiff. Cox and Mackie join fellow former Reds Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter at Reading, which promises to be an interesting sub-plot for Saturday’s fixture.
The midweek home defeat for the Royals at the hands of manager-less Huddersfield has left fans clutching at straws for positives to draw for the coming season. However, there is still time left in the window to do business and gaffer, Nigel Adkins will be hoping the Club can draw together the money required. The competition is as fierce as ever in the Championship and Reading should be in the mix, but do they have the quality of other teams in the upper reaches of the divison? Saturday should be a decent indication of which way Reading’s season will go.
Can Forest overcome Reading to continue their formidable start? Or will the the Royals prove to the rest of the Championship that they are worthy of mounting a promotion challenge this time round? For me, there’s only one outcome here; 3-1 Forest.