Derby County play host to Reading in the second round of fixtures since the return of the Championship and Wayne Rooney and co will be looking to make it two on the bounce after an impressive 3-2 win over Millwall last weekend.
The arrival of Rooney in January has given The Rams a much-needed spark after last season's disaster upon finishing short of the playoffs. Their win last Saturday puts them in 12th position in the league, however, keeps their playoff dreams alive and for this game, I can't look past them.
A 10-7-2 record at Pride Park suggests that the Rams can keep the momentum going against a mediocre Reading side, whilst the gap between them and 6th placed Preston is currently only three points.
The Rams have only lost once in their last six league games and have won three in a row whilst scoring three times in each of those three games, so goals are not a shortage for Phillip Cocu’s men.
In fairness to Reading, you have to give credit to their manager Mark Bowen. When he took over back in October 2019, the club looked like they were going the same way as Portsmouth did; slumping down the divisions. They still have much work to be done to be fighting for promotion, however, they have much improved under Bowen and are no longer relegation candidates this season.
An injury-time goal last weekend halted Reading from taking all three points against Stoke whilst ending a three-game win streak in their favour.
Last time out Reading crushed Derby 3-0 at home, however, Derby themselves have won two out of their last three home games against Reading.
Looking at the stats you have to say that Derby cannot be accused of not taking their chances and they look to be in good form even out of the break. With no fans, things will be different at home for The Rams, however, they have been scoring for fun and creating plenty of chances, so as mentioned earlier I don’t think I can look past them.
Mark Bowen still believes Reading can push their way into the playoffs but compared to Derby, that looks like a long shot as Derby have some real momentum behind them.
Match Preview written by Jordan Hall.