Match Preview | Reading vs. Cardiff City
The Bluebirds will travel to Berkshire on Friday evening to face Reading. Mick McCarthy’s men will take on the Royals on April 16th, with a 6pm kick-off in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
How do I watch the match?
This match has been selected by host and international broadcasters, meaning that it won't be available on Cardiff City TV in the UK, Ireland or most international territories.
However, this match is available for streaming in several exempt countries, including Malaysia and many more.
Overseas Match Passes can be bought in exempt countries for just £7, with Season Passes also available.
Supporters in the UK & Ireland can purchase a Commentary Pass for £5 a month, or for just £10 for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.
Opposition Focus: Season so far
The Royals have been one of the most consistently performing teams in the Championship this season, but risk falling at the final hurdle and missing out on a Play-Off place altogether. Reading currently sit in 7th position, achieving 19 wins, nine draws and 13 defeats so far during the campaign. With 66 points to their name, the Royals find themselves five points adrift of 6th place Barnsley and 5th place AFC Bournemouth, both of whom currently sit on 71 points with five league matches of the season remaining.
Veljko Paunović, who replaced Mark Bowen just before the start of the campaign, has taken Reading from being an outside shot to serious promotion contenders, with his side having performed excellently for the majority of the campaign. An eight-match unbeaten run at the beginning of the term saw the Royals occupy top spot until early November, and they have steadily kept the pace at the upper end of the divisional standings ever since. Remarkably, Reading have spent just two weeks outside of the top six throughout the entire league season.
However, unfortunately for Paunović and his men, one of those weeks has occurred during the past seven days, with the Royals falling to 7th spot after a 2-0 loss at Watford. Reading have suffered something of a blip across their past six matches, winning just once since March 7th. That triumph, a 3-1 home victory over Derby County, came on April 5th, ending a run of four draws and one defeat. However, the Royals were unable to maintain their position inside the top six following last weekend’s fixtures, suffering defeat at Vicarage Road whilst their Play-Off rivals both picked up vital victories elsewhere.
Opposition Focus: Ones to watch
Michael Olise has burst onto the Championship scene this season, producing a number of fine individual displays which have helped propel the Royals towards the top six. Aged 19, Olise has missed just two league matches for Paunović’s side this term, scoring six goals and recording an impressive ten assists throughout the campaign. The attacking midfielder netted a terrific strike during Reading’s most recent match at the Madejski Stadium, opening the scoring against Derby County with a fine finish from the edge of the penalty area.
Lucas João is enjoying his best goalscoring return since arriving in England back in 2015. The striker, who moved to Reading from Sheffield Wednesday in 2019, has netted 19 times in the Championship this season, the fourth-highest tally in the division. The 27-year-old, who, like teammate Olise, also scored in the Royals’ 3-1 victory over Derby, has provided seven assists for teammates this season, cementing his position as one of Paunović’s most important attacking assets at the club. João will be looking to return to the Royals’ starting lineup on Friday evening, having been introduced from the substitute’s bench during the past two fixtures.
Ovie Ejaria enjoyed two loan spells at the Madejski Stadium before putting pen to paper on a permanent deal with the club in the summer of 2020. The talented central midfielder came through the ranks at Liverpool and spent time on loan under former Reds skipper Steven Gerrard at Rangers, but can now be considered an accomplished and experienced player at Championship level. The 23-year-old, who has frequently operated on the left-hand side of midfield this term, has scored seven goals and provided 12 assists during his 89 matches in a Reading shirt, with three goals and five assists coming this season.
Opposition Focus: Away day action
City’s last trip to the Madejski Stadium finished in a 1-1 draw back in January 2020. The occasion, a Fourth Round tie in the Emirates FA Cup, saw the Bluebirds take an early lead thanks to Callum Paterson’s close-range effort. However, the hosts levelled the score just three minutes later, with Yakou Méïté on target to ensure that a Replay would be needed to separate the two sides. After an entertaining reverse fixture at CCS, which ended with a 3-3 draw, the Royals eventually secured their passage to the next round with a 4-1 victory in the penalty shootout.
The Bluebirds claimed a memorable draw against Reading at the Madejski in December 2017, earning what proved to a vital point in our eventual 2nd place finish in the Championship table. The hosts held a two-goal advantage going into the final seven minutes of the match, thanks to a Paterson own-goal opener and a second strike from Modou Barrow. However, Joe Bennett sparked a comeback by firing home a fierce volley on the 83-minute mark, before Lee Tomlin netted an injury-time equaliser. His shot cannoned off the crossbar and narrowly over the goal-line, sparking scenes of celebration amongst the travelling fans behind the goal.
City lasted tasted victory at our hosts’ home ground in November 2011, securing a 2-1 win over a Reading side that would go on to lift the Championship trophy at the end of the 2011/12 campaign. Peter Whittingham stole the show at the Madejski for the Bluebirds, opening the scoring with a truly spectacular effort, which served as both a tackle on Jimmy Kébé and also a 35-yard lob over Adam Federici. Mark Hudson drove home the eventual winner from a Whittingham free-kick in the second half, ensuring that Kébé’s late strike was nothing more than a consolation and sending the Bluebirds back to the Welsh capital with three deserved points.