READING FC hope to bounce back from a heartbreaking defeat against Derby as they travel to the Midlands to face Nottingham Forest today (Saturday afternoon).

The Royals have not won away since January when they Burton Albion 3-1 at the Pirelli Stadium.

Paul Clement welcomes back Liam Moore to the squad having missed the match against Derby following intense transfer speculation.

Tyler Blackett is also available for selection. The defender is back following the red card that he picked up against Sheffield Wednesday last season, which led to him missing the season opener.

Winger Adrian Popa is back training with the squad but is not expected to be fit in time to play against the Reds.

Welshmen Chris Gunter and Dave Edwards are still out of action. Whilst Callum Harriott, Garath McCleary, Jordan Obita and Anssi Jaakola are also recovering from various injuries.

Meanwhile, Sam Baldock could make his full debut for the Royals. The striker came off the bench against Derby and could start as he looks to get off the mark for his new club.

Speaking at his press conference Clement, said: “We’ve had a good week of preparation.

“I’ve seen Forest live twice, I went to their game against Bristol City and they were unlucky not to get the three points against West Brom.

“We’ve licked our wounds after the performance against Derby.

“Hopefully we are going to build on the positives from the performance and we want a response after losing the first game.

“This time hopefully we can back it up with a result.”

Nottingham Forest meanwhile are likely to field an unchanged line-up following their impressive display against West Brom in midweek.

Forest dominated the match with their high tempo, attacking football and could have easily won the match had they put their chances away.

Manager Aitor Karanka has no new injury concerns ahead of the match but welcomes Joe Worral back to the squad following an injury.

New signing Michael Hefele could make his debut following his arrival from Huddersfield on transfer deadline day.

Royals’ fans will remember Hefele having played the full 120 minutes as his former side won promotion to the Premier League at the expense of Reading in the 2017 play-off final.

Interesting notes ahead of the game -

  • The last meeting the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw with Omar Richards netting his first goal for the Royals.
  • Reading have failed to beat Nottingham Forest in their last four meetings at the City Ground. Their last win came in November 2013 when the Royals won 3-2 with Jordan Obita scoring the winner.
  • The Royals’ last away win came in January, a 3-1 win over Burton Albion.

Predicted line-up - 

Nottingham Forest are a top side and I think Paul Clement will play it safe by playing one striker up front.

Aitor Karanka’s men played brilliantly against West Brom and playing two strikers will leave Clement’s men exposed defensively.

Therefore Clement will likely field a 4-2-3-1 formation which will allow the Royals to cram the midfield when they don’t have possession.

Judging from Clement’s comments in his presser, Baldock is in much better shape than he was last week. The former Brighton player needs as much game time as possible to get himself up to speed. 

Omar Richards and Tiago Ilori played fantastically well against Derby, so it is likely they will keep their spots in the team. Ahead of the returning Tyler Blackett and Liam Moore.

Therefore I have gone with a back four of Richards, Paul McShane, Ilori and Andy Yiadom.

David Meyler will also have a crucial role in protecting the Reading back four so it is likely that he will start.

Lastly, with limited options due to injuries, Mo Barrow and Sone Aluko will almost certainly be in the starting XI.

Reading Chronicle:

The Chronicle is predicting a 1-1 draw for the Royals this afternoon.

What do you think the scoreline will be?