Friday night sees Reading’s last home game at the Select Car Leasing Stadium until December as Preston travel down south. Reading come into this one on the back of a creditable 0-0 draw at Kentilworth Road in a game that they will feel unfortunate not to have won. North End’s form has picked up recently and they beat Swansea in midweek, keeping their 11th clean sheet in just 19 games.
The home side were predicted to go down by bookies, pundits, and fans alike at the start of the season. However, a strong start had Reading fans dreaming with a run of six wins in eight at one point in September and October. Their form has since faded, with just one win and five points in their last seven but their home form has remained fairly strong. Last time out here, they beat Bristol City 2-0 in a game that they dominated, and after two away games, they’ll be looking for a similar performance here.
They were unfortunate last weekend at Burnley, where they were denied what looked a stonewall penalty in the dying seconds at 1-1, only to go down the other end and concede with the last kick of the game. Backed up with a good result at Luton, the Royals can take plenty of positives from the last week. They’ll be pleased to have Mamadou Loum back from suspension, although he will likely come in for Ovie Ejaria given that he went off at half-time on Tuesday night. It’s probable that Shane Long will come in for Andy Carroll given his age and the Tuesday-Friday fixture break.
Plenty was made of Preston’s early season form, which saw a very small amount of goals at both ends of the pitch. It took until game week nine for two goals to be scored in one game and they themselves did not score more than one goal in a game until week 13 at Norwich. 12 of their 19 matches have seen two or less goals and unsurprisingly, they have both scored and conceded the least in the league. However, recent weeks have been much improved. They have won three of their last five and five of their last eight, including two of their four on the road. Ben Whiteman in midfield will miss this game after coming off in the first half in midweek with a thigh injury, although they have a more than suitable replacement in Ryan Ledson to come in in the centre of the park. Other than that, North End are fully fit although Ched Evans probably will not start this game given that he played 77 minutes in midweek – his most of the season.
Reading v Preston Bet Builder Tips
Both Teams to Score – No
Much has been made of Preston’s goal record, but Reading have improved in recent weeks. Paul Ince will be pleased that they have kept two clean sheets in their last three and he will be looking to back that up here. In their games, both teams have scored in just 39% of their games and at home this number rises slightly to 44% of their nine games.
As mentioned above, Preston have been rock solid at the back and struggled at times going forward this season. As a result just 26% of their games have seen both teams hit the back of the net and away from home they set up more defensively, which has led to them only conceding in three of their nine away games, whilst only scoring in six. Given both teams’ relatively low average with both teams scoring, there is value here in a game where the bookies predict just a 50% chance of this happening.
Preston Double Chance
Preston’s form, especially recently, has been very good. They sit third in the away table and have only lost two of their games. As I mentioned above, they have only conceded in three of these games and I think this strong defence has a good chance of holding Reading to nothing here. Reading’s home form has been very good with six wins in nine but five of these win came in their first six, and they have only won one of the three since. West Brom and Sunderland both managed to shut the home side out here and I think that the Preston defence will provide a much sterner test for the Royals’ attack.
Jordan Storey to Carded
Jordan Storey is Preston’s most booked player of the season and has already served a suspension with seven already in just 18 league appearances. He’s been booked in two of his last three, including in midweek against Swansea and there is real value here. Standing at only 5’10, he may struggle at centre back if and when Andy Carroll comes on. Six centre backs have been booked against Reading this season – Curtis Nelson, Daniel Ayala, Ajibola Alese, Andrew Omobamidele, Joel Latibeaudiere and Taylor Harwood-Bellis – and I think that Storey could add to this number given his very high card count. I think that 7/2 is a very generous price for a man who has been booked seven times already this season.
Under 3.5 Cards
Whilst I can see Storey getting booked, I do not expect to see many cards here. In their last six home games, Reading have seen four or more cards in three of them, averaging 3.33. Preston’s away average is higher with 4.50 cards per game in their last six, however this is skewed as three of these games have seen six or more cards. They have also seen four or more cards shown in just three of their six away games and just 56% in total.
However, what really draws me to this line is the referee, David Webb. He averages 3.33 cards per game across his 12 Championship fixtures so far this season but this has been wildly skewed by Sheffield United vs Blackpool a few weeks ago where he gave nine yellow cards and four reds. Excluding this game, he has given four or more yellows in just three of his 11 fixtures as well as only seven across his last three games. He has also officiated a Carabao Cup match – West Brom against Sheffield United – which saw 0 cards as well as two league two matches, which have seen eight cards in total. Last season in the Championship, he gave four or more cards in just 44% of matches and across his 85 games in his career, has shown four or more cards in just 37.73%.
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Reading predicted XI (3-5-2): Lumley; Yiadom, Holmes, Mbengue; Hoilett, Hendrick, Loum, Rahman; Ince; Meite, Long
Preston predicted XI (3-5-2): Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, McCann, Ledson, Browne, Brady; Riis, Maguire
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Reading v Preston in the Championship?
📅 When is Reading v Preston? / Friday, 4th November 2022, 8:00PM
🏟 Where is Reading v Preston? / Madejski Stadium (Reading)
📺 What TV channel is Reading v Preston on? / Sky Sports Football
🟨 …And who is the referee for Reading v Preston? / D. Webb 🏴