The Royals take on the Terriers at the Madejski Stadium tonight in an all-important clash at the lower end of the Championship table.
Reading aren’t quite out of the woods yet but they’ll be comfortable enough in 14th position to not feel a burning desire to look over their shoulder at the bottom three, in what has been an up and down season under manager Mark Bowen.
The Welshman was assistant manager to Mark Hughes at Southampton before joining the Royals as ‘Technical Consultant’ – before essentially hiring himself to take up residence in the manager's dugout.
No doubt the home side will be in an optimistic mood going into the game, following their 5-0 thrashing of bottom-of-the-table, Luton Town. Current Royal and former Paris Saint-Germain winger, Yakou Meite, scored a whopping FOUR goals against Luton, as he took his goal tally for the season up to 16. The highest goal scorer for Reading in the 2019/20 campaign.
It looks likely that Bowen will improve on Reading’s finish from last season where they finished 20th in the table, with five more games of the season still to play.
This fixture will bring back many memories for fans of both Reading and Huddersfield as the two teams faced off at Wembley stadium in the 2017 Championship playoff final, that saw the latter win promotion to the Premier League after Christopher Schindler sealed the victory in a penalty shootout. Since then, the Terriers have suffered relegation back to the second tier of English football and were on the wrong end of the scoreline in the reverse fixture in Yorkshire when Reading ran out 2-0 winners.
From a Huddersfield Town point of view, they currently reside in 20th position in the league and are a nerve-racking two points above the drop zone. It certainly feels like a long time since manager, Danny Cowley, scooped the manager of the month award in October, after taking over from former Borussia Dortmund II boss – Jan Siewert.
Huddersfield have only won one game in their last five, culminating in a goalless draw with Preston North End in their previous game. There is no doubt that the Terries will need to pick up as many points as they can in their remaining five games, as Middlesbrough, Barnsley and Luton Town all have a chance of escaping the drop.
Striker Karlan Grant has the most goals for Huddersfield this season with 18, as winger Emile Smith Rowe is being hotly tipped to start against the Royals out wide, after the Arsenal loanee made a substitute appearance against Preston.
In terms of a score prediction, it’s difficult to call with the Championship always providing surprise results. Both Bowen and Cowley will want the three points badly – but, I’ll go for a score draw in this one. Reading will have their tails up on home soil - however it’s going to be more difficult to take all three points from the Terries as it was at the start of the season, still mourning relegation from the Premier League.
Match Prediction written by Matt Davey.