Opposition Report: Reading

Blues play Reading tonight hoping to make it two wins out of two.


An in-depth look at this evening’s opponents....


The Royals sit fifth in the Sky Bet Championship after a superb start to the season; they could go top of the league after this round of fixtures, pending other results. On Saturday, they waltzed past Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium, winning 2-0. Former Blues captain Michael Morrison scored their second.

The Berkshire-based outfit have lost just once in their past five league outings, winning the other two and drawing twice as well. Reading are amongst the division’s top goalscorers – they’ve dispatched 26 goals in their 16 league matches placing them third on the goals for list.


Veljko Paunović is Reading’s First-Team manager. He was appointed at the end of August having worked with a number of Serbia’s national youth teams from Under 18’s through to Under 20’s. It was with the Under 20’s that he experienced his biggest managerial success, guiding his team to the finals of the Under 20 Fifa World Cup in the 2014-15 campaign. The young Serbs met Gabriel Jesus’ Brazil in the final and triumphed in extra time to lift the trophy.

He then went on to spend four years in-charge of the Chicago Fire in the MLS. During his time in Illinois, he guided the team to the 2017 end-of-season play-offs and amongst others, worked with Bastian Schweinsteiger.

On the pitch, he was a midfielder who spent the majority of his time in Spain with a number of clubs including Atletico Madrid. He also turned out in Germany, Russia, Serbia and America – where he came out of retirement to feature very briefly for the Philadelphia Union.


Lucas Joao has scored 14 goals in all competitions for the Royals this season, including 11 in the league but it’s exciting French youngster Michael Olise who’s got the fans in Berkshire talking this year.

The pacy winger came through the academy at the Madejski and after breaking into the first-team last season, he’s enjoyed a consistent run of games under Paunović. The Royals boss says more is still to come from the left-footed forward, who spent time at both Chelsea and Manchester City as a junior. The youngster’s best attribute is arguably his delivery – which has seen him bag six league assists already in 2020.


The Royals came out on top in last season’s March encounter at St Andrews by three goals to one. Scott Hogan had given Blues a sixth minute lead in a half dominated by the home side but second-half strikes from Miazga, Meite and Tuncara Gomes turned the game on its head. In the season’s earlier clash between the two, Blues triumphed 3-2 at the Madejski, with a Jermie Bela wonderstrike the pick of the goals on that occasion.


The teams have met 17 times in just nine years. Seven of those games have been won by the Royals in all competitions, Blues have won seven as well and there’ve been three draws too. A particularly good afternoon back in 2014 saw Blues thrash Reading 6-1 at St Andrews, Demarai Gray scoring a hat-trick in that game in particular.


In 1913, Reading went to Italy for a pre-season tour. They beat reigning champions Pro Vercelli, the Italian National Team, Genoa and AC Milan on that trip – which prompted popular Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera to write the headline “Without doubt, Reading FC are the finest foreign team seen in Italy”. The Royals were invited to the country the following year but there’s no evidence they ever made it.