So here it is, the final game of what has been a quite phenomenal season for Reading Football Club.
Reading fans will be travelling to St.Andrew’s in great numbers on Saturday, with over 4,000 tickets sold and as traditional for Reading fans on the last away game of the season it will be “inflatable’s day” adding to the carnival like atmosphere that should be created.
With Birmingham guaranteed a spot in this season’s playoffs and Reading of course already having secured the title, there may not seem a great deal to play for either team.
However, Birmingham have dropped to 5th in the table, meaning they would play at home in the first leg of the playoffs and away in the second. This is always seen as a negative, so expect Birmingham to be desperate to win, overtake Blackpool and secure 4th spot, meaning home advantage in the crucial second leg of the playoffs.
Reading will of course also be looking for the 3 points on Saturday; Brian McDermott is not the kind of manager to make wholesale changes for any game, despite having nothing to play for. With Jason Roberts suspended following his red card against Crystal Palace, Adam Le Fondre is the likely replacement, although Benik Afobe may be brought in to replicate Roberts pace and power. However, do not expect many more changes to the team that played Palace, if any.
Both clubs should be pleased with their seasons and hopefully both sets of fans should be in good spirits which should lead to a great atmosphere and a great game!
Birmingham are coming off the back of 4 straight draws and will be looking for a win to gain some momentum heading into the playoffs. The game earlier in the season between the two teams saw Reading come out 1-0 winners at the Madejski thanks to a Noel Hunt winner in the 75th minute.
Reading will also be keen to finish the season on a high, following our fabulous run. It will not be an easy game of course, with Birmingham boasting a very good home record having only lost once this season on home soil. This will not phase Reading however, who have recently won at arguably the hardest away grounds in the league in Upton Park and St Marys.
Reading fans should be happy that everything is already sewn up and not having to rely on a result in what is sure to be a competitive game on Saturday. Fans should take the opportunity to enjoy the game and give our players the full support and appreciation that they deserve before they embark on what is a huge summer for the club!
Thoughts? Contact me on twitter @JackPeedell