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Preview: Preston North End vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Championship clash between Preston North End and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Reading will be looking to make it three Championship victories in a row when they travel to fellow promotion contenders Preston North End on Sunday lunchtime.

The Royals enter the weekend's fixtures fifth in the table, eight points better off than 10th-placed Preston, who have themselves been in good form over the past month.


Match preview

Reading's John Swift celebrates scoring against Coventry City in the Championship on January 19, 2021© Reuters

After a disappointing start to December that saw Reading lose three games in the space of four matches, Veljko Paunovic's men have since taken 10 points from the last 12 available.

That run includes victories over Luton Town, Huddersfield Town and, most recently, a 3-0 home triumph against Coventry City on Tuesday.

Lucas Joao and John Swift scored and assisted one each and Andy Rinomhota was also on target in a one-sided clash at the Madejski Stadium.

That victory only strengthened Reading's promotion claims and Paunovic will now be keen for his side to keep their momentum going.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Taking the last six games into account, only five teams have accrued more points than the Royals - one of those teams being next opponents Preston.

The Lilywhites suffered back-to-back losses against Nottingham Forest and Bristol City, but four victories either side, each without conceding, leaves them in a strong position.

Alex Neil's men saw off Birmingham City 1-0 last time out through Scott Sinclair's strike on the hour mark at St Andrew's.

North End have not been great on home soil this term, though, losing seven times in the league at Deepdale - they last lost more in the 2010-11 campaign when tasting defeat 12 times.

Reading have lost only one of their last six away games in the league, meanwhile, and are chasing successive away league wins to start a calendar year for the first time since 2002.

Preston North End Championship form: WWWLLW
Preston North End form (all competitions): WWLLLW

Reading Championship form: LLWDWW
Reading form (all competitions): LWDWLW


Team News

Preston North End's Scott Sinclair celebrates scoring against Reading on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Daniel Johnson and Tom Barkhuizen are back in contention for Preston, while Billy Bodin has a chance of being fit in time for Sunday's match.

Louis Moult, Declan Rudd and Patrick Bauer are the home side's confirmed absentees, each having been ruled out for the long term.

Sinclair's strike against Birmingham took his goals tally for the season to eight in 22 Championship outings, and he looks certain to start out wide this weekend.

As for the visitors, Michael Olise is doubtful with a shoulder injury and six others are sidelined indefinitely, including the likes of George Puscas and Yakou Meite.

Tomas Esteves was brought on midway through the win over Coventry and is pushing for inclusion from the beginning against Preston.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Browne, Huntington, Davies, Hughes; Whiteman, Molumby; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair; Jakobsen

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Esteves, Morrison, McIntyre, Richards; Laurent, Rinomhota; Aluko, Swift, Ejaria; Joao


SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 1-2 Reading

Preston won the reverse meeting 3-0 in early November and are seeking a league double in this fixture for the first time since 2015-16.

The Lilywhites returned to winning ways last time out and are one of the division's most in-form sides over the past five weeks, but Reading have looked even stronger of late and we are tipping them to exact some revenge.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


ID:431611:cQx

How you voted: Preston vs Reading

Preston North End
32.6%
Draw
18.6%
Reading
48.8%
86
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Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020
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Veljko Paunovic happy to see Reading get "payback" against Coventry
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Brentford28169355282757
2Norwich CityNorwich28167535231255
3Swansea CitySwansea27158435152053
4Watford28139631201148
5Reading2814684132948
6Bournemouth28129743281545
7Middlesbrough28117103128340
8Blackburn RoversBlackburn271161041291239
9Stoke CityStoke2891273229339
10Bristol City28123132933-439
11Cardiff CityCardiff28107113732537
12Preston North EndPreston28113143236-436
13Barnsley27106112934-536
14Millwall2871472626035
15Luton TownLuton2797112229-734
16Queens Park RangersQPR2789102632-633
17Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2896133139-833
18Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2888122530-532
19Coventry CityCoventry28710112637-1131
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham2785143338-529
21Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2897122130-928
22Derby CountyDerby2777131728-1128
23Birmingham CityBirmingham28610122134-1328
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe2737171847-2916

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