READING FC boss Paul Clement is set to make several changes against Birmingham City in tonight’s Carabao Cup first-round tie at Madejski Stadium (8pm ko).

Royals have lost their first two matches in the Championship following a home defeat to Derby County and a 1-0 reverse at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to leave them bottom of the table.

So Clement is likely to give some of his fringe players a chance to shine against the Blues in the hope of securing a much-needed victory to boost team morale.

Speaking after last weekend’s defeat at City Ground, he said: “Normally you have this midweek cup game in the first week of the season. We didn’t this year, but we’re looking forward to getting back out there now.

“We will freshen the side up a bit and give some of the players who haven’t played much an opportunity.

“But it’ll certainly be a team that will be competitive and that can win the game.”

The likes of goalkeeper Sam Walker, former Manchester United defender John O’Shea and new striker Marc McNulty could all be handed starts against Birmingham.

Midfield duo John Swift and Pelle Clement may be added to the starting XI along with youngster, Omar Richards.

Leandro Bacuna is also pushing for a start having been named on the bench at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Reading Chronicle:

Marc McNulty could start against Birmingham City tonight.

Clement added: “In our squad, we don’t have a massive gulf in quality. All of the players are competitive for their positions.

“It’s an opportunity to play another game and improve, and to turn our training work into performances and ultimately results.

“The games will start to come thick and fast. We’ll dust ourselves down after Forest, as we do after any game when we haven’t got the result, and move on quickly and look forward to the next challenge.”

Clubs often use the Carabao Cup to blood young players, and Birmingham City are unlikely to be an exception.

Last season, former Reading manager Jaap Stam handed debuts to Andy Rinomhota, Sam Smith and Axel Andresson and Richards in the competition.

Tonight’s match referee is Dean Whitestone, with Kevin Morris, Steven Plane and Daniel Robathan his assistants.

There will be no extra time in the competition tonight, with the tie set to go straight to penalties if the game ends in a draw after 90 minutes.

Reading FC v Birmingham City head to head:

* It is the 37th fixture between the two clubs.

* The first meeting was in 1986.

* Reading have won 12, drawn 11 and lost 13.

* Reading have won twice in the last eight games against the Blues.

* Reading haven’t beaten Birmingham at the Madejski Stadium since 2013.

* Reading reached the third round of league cup last year before losing to Swansea City, Birmingham reached the second round.

* The furthest Reading have gone in the league cup is the quarter finals in 1998 and 1996.

* Since Birmingham City won the league cup in 2011, their best finish has been the fourth round in 2013/14.

* Gary Monk has won two of his three encounters as a manager against Reading.

* Gary Gardner is suspended for Birimgham after his red card in their 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

* Reading spent £4.2m on seven transfers over the summer, Birmingham spent £2.2m on one player (Kristian Pedersen).