Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Reading

Match Previews
Following victory over the Baggies earlier in the week, the  Bluebirds return to CCS to host the Royals on Friday night - kick-off at 7:45pm.
The Opposition

Reading are currently in 15th place on the Sky Bet Championship league table, with 37 points collected so far in their current campaign. The Royals have won one of their five most recent league matches, which came on New years Day against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

In their most recent outing, Reading were defeated at home by Bristol City as the Robins left Berkshire with three points. The encounter’s sole goal came just past the hour mark, as Jamie Paterson slotted home from Niclas Eliasson’s through ball at the Madejski Stadium.

Yakou Méïté is Reading’s top scorer this season, having netted seven times for the Royals in their current campaign. The Ivorian international joined the club in July 2016, having began his playing career with French side Paris Saint-Germain, making one Ligue 1 appearances for the club during his time with Les Parisiens.

The striker has made 71 league appearances so far for the Royals, recording 12 goals in the 2018/19 season for the Berkshire side, eventually being named as their top goalscorer of the campaign.

In the hot seat

Reading's manager is Mark Bowen. The former Wales international began his playing career at Tottenham Hotspur in 1981, before leaving for Norwich City in 1987. Whilst playing for the Canaries in the First Division and Premier League, Bowen enjoyed a nine-year spell at the club, making almost 400 appearances in all competitions for the side.

The midfielder made further appearances for cubs such as West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, and Wigan Athletic before retiring as a player, later moving into coaching. 

His involvement with the Wales national side as well as Birmingham City was followed by several assistant managerial roles under Mark Hughes, with spells at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Fulham.

Briefly serving as Reading's sporting director from August 2019, two months later Bowen stepped into his current position following the departure of previous manager José Gomes.

Player Link

One player who may take to the field on Friday night that has played for both the Bluebirds and the Royals is Chris Gunter. Beginning his senior footballing career with City in 2006 aged 17, the defender made a total of 33 appearances for City before moving in 2008 to play for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. 

Following two season spent with the Lilywhites, the Wales international transferred to former loan club Nottingham Forest, where he enjoyed a three-year spell that saw him play regularly for the Championship side, making almost 150 league appearances.

A move to Berkshire in 2012 was the start of his time at his current club, where the defender became a regular for the Royals soon after joining. With a total of 300 appearances in all competitions for the club so far under his belt, Gunter has played a crucial role in the sides in recent years, being ever present in both their 2016/17 and 2017/18 Championship seasons.