With seven games in the Championship tomorrow night, arguably the biggest comes at St Andrews.
It’s fair to say fans were bemused when manager Gary Rowett parted company with the club he turned around back in December. Despite fans getting behind Rowett’s replacement, Gianfranco Zola, it’s been a sorry state of affairs for the Italian since he came into the club. It’s now nine games without a win for the Blues and three points is desperately needed to get their season back on track.
Reading are enjoying a good season under their new manager Jaap Stam and have been in good form of late. The Royals sit comfortably in third place and have six points in their last two games thanks to wins against Neil Warnock’s Cardiff and promotion rivals Fulham. Three points for the Berkshire-based club would move them to within three points of second placed Newcastle and the automatic promotion places.
The hosts could be without defender Michael Morrison who is currently nursing a groin injury. Striker Clayton Donaldson is a player who will definitely not be taking part in the match and he will not be at manager Zola’s disposal for another six to seven weeks at least.
The Royals will be without central defender Tiago Illori who damaged his ankle ligaments in Saturday’s game against Cardiff. Stam recently added Adrian Popa to his squad but the player will have to wait for international clearance before he can be picked.
The Midlands side have been playing attractive football under Zola but results haven’t been going their way and the pressure is building. It Italian is under no illusion and recognises the need for three points saying to the Birmingham Mail “Time is something I do not have”.
888 sport have the home side’s first win under new gaffer Zola at 33/20, with a draw at 47/20 and a Reading win at 8/5. Both sides deploy a system of attacking, passing football, with both teams to score reflecting this at 37/50 and over 2.5 goals available at 9/10. A Che Adams goal with a 1-0 win for the Blues stands at 30/1 whereas a 1-0 away win with a goal from top goalscorer Yann Kermogant offers the same returns from £1.