EFL Championship: Reading v Fulham Preview (2nd Leg)


Our English football scribe previews the second leg EFL Championship play-off between Reading and Fulham.

The first leg at Craven Cottage was perhaps not handled as proficiently as one would have expected by Mr Atwell. Paul McShane’s red card could have probably been avoided if the ref had interceded at earlier points in the game. Regardless, Jaap Stam will be much the happier manager, despite Fulham’s equaliser. The club has an imperious home record and a fanatical home support to draw inspiration from. Neither one of these sides has ever been promoted from a play-off position, which doesn’t bode too well for their ultimate qualification prospects.

Reading v Fulham | The Madejski Stadium | Tuesday 16 May | 20:45

To Win (90 Mins)
Reading 2/1 | Draw 24/10 | Fulham 5/4

While Stam will be the happier of the two managers, he certainly faces more selection dilemma’s going into this second leg. Captain Paul McShane starts a three-match ban for that red card in the first leg, which will obviously necessitate a defensive reshuffle. Furthermore, they are like to be without first leg goal-scorer Jordan Obita through an ankle injury. Coupled with the continued absence of Gareth McCleary, it is clear that Reading will be without a considerable part of their creative fulcrum this week.

Liam Kelly also faces a late fitness test ahead of this encounter. So Reading will have it all to do to keep that impressive home record intact. Grabban and Swift will look to provide the width while Kermorgant still looks to impose his will on the tie. Joey van den Berg will likely come into the side and replace the injured Obita this week.

Slavisa Jokanovic will feel that his side missed out on a golden opportunity to take control of the tie in the first leg. If it were not for Tom Cairney’s equaliser, they may well be completely in the mire. As it stands - and considering Reading’s looming injury issues - Fulham will feel cautiously optimistic. Jokanovic has no new injury issues but may feel the need to make a few alterations up front. Martin was toothless in the first leg and I wouldn’t be surprised if he opted for Neeskans Kebano in support of Ayite and Aluko.

Michael Madl and Ragnar Sigurdsson will likely be back from injury for the final should the Cottagers progress this week. They will realise that Reading’s away goal leaves them in an advantageous position and requires them to score. Reading also boast a terrific home record this season. They only lost at the Madejski twice during the regular season, the last of which being in January to QPR.

Verdict: Reading 2/1
I can’t really believe that the bookies seem insistent on making Fulham the favourites. The Royals finished above them in the log and have a remarkable home record to defend this week. Despite their injury issues, I think Kermorgant will fire them to victory.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.

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