Match Preview: Reading v Northampton Town

Reading v Northampton Town

After last weekend’s superb win over Derby at Sixfields, we can now say we’re safe in League One for another season. If you’d told us that we’d be sitting here going into Easter weekend free from worry when things kicked off in August you wouldn’t have found many Cobblers fans who’d have believed you. But the gritty showing against one of the best sides in the league showed all the strengths of Jon Brady’s side when they’re at their very best. 
 

What we need to do now is make sure those levels don’t drop as we go into a double header against Reading and Port Vale over the next few days. The aim now is to stick around in the top half until the end of the season and attempt to position ourselves well for the summer transfer business. 

First up is that trip to a Reading side who have been constantly battling the elements off the pitch as the way try to stay afloat on it this season. It’s not an easy task and we know that we’ll be in for a fight. With time running out on this excellent season, it’s time to sit back and enjoy every part of these final six games.

The Opposition

Relegation to the third tier for the first time in twenty two years. A total of eighteen points deducted across seasons. A five year transfer embargo. Multiple missed HMRC payments. Extreme cost cutting including redundancies. A CEO selling  most of the valuable assets behind the back of the manager and Director of Football. Not a single interview with the public.

This is only part of the story of Reading’s tumultuous spell under the ownership of Dai Yongge. 

A club who were mid-table in the Championship just over a year ago are now fighting all elements possible to claw their way to safety on the pitch and to find a new owner to rescue them off it. Good news came this week that the club have entered into a period of exclusivity with a potential buyer so there’s a glimmer of hope that the reign of terror may be, mercifully, over soon. 

While all this has been going on, the Royals players have been striving to stay above the drop zone despite two points deductions. Every time they receive a deduction they bounce back in the following game, a sign of resilience instilled by manager Rubén Sellés, who survived a rocky start to his Reading tenure to take his side slowly away from the bottom four. There’s work to be done still but there’s a spirit among this young side that can upset most in the league on their day. 

Together with the entire football community, we hope Reading fans will have actual football to talk about very soon. 

Last Time Out

Reading took a giant step towards League One safety by hammering fellow relegation threatened Cambridge 4-0 at home last weekend. The Cobblers, meanwhile, beat promotion chasing Derby 1-0 at Sixfields. 

One To Watch

Lewis Wing is the man who makes Reading tick from the middle of the park and, at twenty eight, is one of the more experienced members of the playing staff. His ability on the ball is often on a level well above where Reading currently find themselves and he’s chipped in with seven goals and ten assists himself so far this season.

Wing joined the club in July last year having amassed over two hundred league appearances for Middlesbrough, Yeovil, Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe. 

Team News

Reading will be without the suspended Andy Yiadom who is serving the second game of a two game suspension. Other than that, Rubén Sellés has no new injury concerns ahead of the clash with the Cobblers.
 

Lee Burge is getting closer to a return for the Cobblers ahead of Friday afternoon. Jon Guthrie pulled out last weekend with a hamstring problem while Liam Moore and Aaron McGowan were withdrawn early so all three will be checked on. 

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Thomas Parsons is the referee for Friday’s game. Parsons last officiated the Cobblers in a 1-1 draw at Harrogate in February 2023. David Harrison and Joseph Stokes are running the lines with Andy Bennett as the fourth official.

Prediction

This is a tough one to call with Reading still needing the points to edge closer to safety. If we can match last weekend’s efforts, though, we’ll give ourselves the best possible chance. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.

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