Sheffield Wednesday v Reading: the opposition view, star man and predicted score
Sheffield Wednesday host struggling Reading at Hillsborough on Saturday in Steve Bruce’s first match in charge at Hillsborough.
Ahead of the match, we spoke to Reading FC journalist Jonathan Low of football.london to get the lowdown on the Owls’ opposition...
What can Sheffield Wednesday expect from Reading?
They can expect a side who are scrapping for their lives as they desperate seek a much-needed win. Royals have won just once in seven games under Gomes and that run actually stretches further back to just one win in the past 14 league games.
Reading are a side who like to play out from the back which is a high-risk strategy but is certainly something they are becoming more familiar with. They can shake things up too by playing the ball long but this is only done as a last resort.
The problem lies in the final third because despite the abundance of attacking players they have, their lack of composure in the opposition penalty box is a real problem.
Who is Reading's star man?
It's a tough one because there is not really a stand-out. I'd go with young midfielder Andy Rinomhota who has broken into the first team this season after coming through the club's academy.
He is a superb, box-to-box midfielder who is confident and strong on the ball, has superb awareness and pace, and always wins his 50-50 battles with opponents. He has been a real highlight in what has been a hugely disappointing season so far.
Are there any key absences in the Reading team?
Nelson Oliveira is a big doubt after being trodden on by Tyrone Mings in last week's draw with Aston Villa. If he does feature, he will wear a mask to protect his face as he suffered some horrific wounds.
Left-back Jordan Obita is a long-term absentee while Iranian midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi is also sidelined with a quad problem.
And striker Sam Baldock is also out with a thigh injury.
One player to watch in the Reading squad
Midfielder John Swift. He is slowly coming back to his best form under Gomes in recent weeks. On his day, Swift is up there with the best players in the division.
His creativity is key and he strikes the ball superbly. The only issue with him is consistency but if he can keep up his level of performance over the 90 minutes Reading will have a great chance of picking up a result.
I would love to be proved wrong but as this is Steve Bruce's first home game in charge, I imagine the atmosphere will be quite something. If Reading get the first goal they will have a chance of a result, but if Wednesday do, there will be only one outcome.
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Reading 0