MX23RW : Saturday, December 19 17:29:52| >> :60:422:422:
Dec 9, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Madejski Stadium
BirminghamBirmingham City
Meite (61')
Meite (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Toral (29', 37')
Hogan (39'), Dean (67'), Etheridge (80'), Leko (88')
Dean (70')

Preview: Reading vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship clash between Reading and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Reading welcome Birmingham City to the Madejski Stadium having returned to form in the Championship with a four-match unbeaten streak.

Meanwhile, Blues head into Wednesday's contest on the back of a surprise win at Bristol City, a result which has kept Aitor Karanka's side clear of the relegation zone.

Match preview

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in October 2020© Reuters

When Reading went from topping the Championship standings to losing four matches in a row, Veljko Paunovic would naturally have had concerns regarding the progression of his side.

However, just like criticism during their run of defeats was deserved, the Royals should receive credit for remaining in the playoffs with eight points coming from a possible 12.

An early red card for Nottingham Forest aided their efforts at the weekend, but Paunovic would have been left impressed with how his players went on to make light work of their opponents.

The clean sheet was their first since October 27, a run stretching eight matches, while Lucas Joao has now netted in five games in succession.

Despite their recent upturn in results, Paunovic will acknowledge that they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas against opponents who continue to divide opinion.

Karanka has received his fair share of criticism since his arrival at St Andrew's, but Saturday's 1-0 success at Bristol City showed that they are capable of defeating the best clubs in the division.

The victory at Ashton Gate was Birmingham's first in seven matches, moving Blues eight points clear of the relegation zone and closer to the safety of mid-table.

Karanka will have long-term ambitions to get Birmingham back in the Premier League, but his side must first find some consistency in the final third of the pitch.

Harlee Dean's late winner at the weekend was just the fifth goal that the West Midlands outfit have scored in their last seven contests.

Reading Championship form: LLDWDW

Birmingham City Championship form: LDDDLW

Team News

Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka pictured on October 4, 2020© Reuters

Karanka must decide whether to hand a first Birmingham start to Alen Halilovic, who featured for the final 18 minutes against Bristol City.

The extra day of recovery could result in the likes of Mikel San Jose and Lukas Jutkiewicz having to make do with a spot among the replacements.

Reading boss Paunovic is expected to keep changes to a minimum, potentially making just one change in midfield to add some fresh legs.

Ovie Ejaria may drop down to the substitutes' bench to allow Alfa Semedo to return to the team.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Holmes, Morrison, Moore, Richards; Laurent, Rinomhota; Meite, Semedo, Olise; Joao

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Friend; Sunjic, Kieftenbeld; Sanchez, Halilovic, Boga; Hogan

SM words green background

We say: Reading 2-1 Birmingham City

Reading have been unpredictable this season, something which will only encourage Birmingham as they bid for another triumph on their travels. However, this has all the makings of being a tight game, and we would back the Royals to show their extra quality during the latter stages of the match.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home 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 Win:data


How you voted: Reading vs Birmingham

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Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in October 2020
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