As the Championship rolls into its penultimate weekend, two sides with nothing to play for battle as Blackburn Rovers host Reading at Ewood Park.
Blackburn came back from the Coronavirus break hopeful of a playoff spot, but a month of inconsistent results have left Rovers in 12th place, seven points off Cardiff in sixth, and they now find themselves looking at a mid-table finish.
Their visitors, Reading, find themselves looking at a similar finish to the season. The Royals sit in 14th, four points behind Blackburn, and are eleven points off both the play-offs and the relegation zone.
When and Where
This match will take place on Saturday 18th July at Ewood Park, kicking off at 3:00pm.
These two teams have only met 23 times with Blackburn winning eight, compared to Reading’s five. However, this fixture ended level more often than not, with nine draws.
The Royals are unbeaten in four of the last five against their Lancashire opponents, however, that one loss came in the last game between these teams in September.
On that occasion, goals from Adam Armstrong and Bradley Dack gave Rovers a 2-1 win at the Madejski Stadium.
Last 5 Games
(L) 1-0 v Millwall
(D) 1-1 v West Brom
(W) 3-2 v Cardiff
(L) 3-1 v Leeds
(L) 2-0 v Barnsley
A 3-1 win against Bristol City in their first fixture back put Tony Mowbray’s side a point off the play-offs, but mixed results since then have seen them drop down the table. This is glaringly obvious when looking at Blackburn’s last five results, where impressive results, like a 3-2 win away at play-off chasing Cardiff and a draw at automatic promotion candidates West Brom, have been cancelled out by losses to another play-off rival Millwall and bottom side Barnsley. While Mowbray will be disappointed by their failure to get into the top six, a point in any of their remaining two games will see them pass the tally of 60 points they reached last season, and currently sit on.
(L) 2-1 v Middlesbrough
(W) 1-0 v Charlton
(D) 0-0 v Huddersfield
(W) 5-0 v Luton
(L) 3-0 v Brentford
While Blackburn have had mixed results since the re-start, this is nothing compared to their visitors on Saturday. In their last five games, Reading have won two, lost two and drawn one which will see them finish in mid-table. The highlight of those five games was a 5-0 demolition of Luton which showed Mark Bowen’s team at their very best, however, their last result a 2-1 loss to a lowly Middlesbrough side showed their vulnerability.
Tony Mowbray has no fresh injury concerns, but star player Bradley Dack remains on the side-lines; as he has been since December, where he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury against Wigan.
Reading have a far bigger injury list with Charlie Adam, Pele, Ovie Ejara, Lucas Joao and Andre Yiadom all going to miss out on the trip north.
With both teams having nothing to play for, there’s a chance the players will already have their eye on the two-month break before the new season starts in September (possibly). The bookies favourite are Rovers and with them having a chance of the playoffs a few weeks ago you can see why, but I can see this one ending level.
Match Preview written by Jamie Perry