2017-18 club-by-club guide: Reading

NEWSATDEN looks at all of Millwall’s 23 opponents ahead of the 2017-18 Championship season.

Next up, Lucas Ball casts an eye over Jaap Stam’s Reading side.

Nickname: The Royals

Manager: Jaap Stam

Stadium: Madejski Stadium

Club website: www.readingfc.co.uk

Nearest train station: Reading West

Postcode: RG2 0FL

Title odds (Sky Bet): 25/1

Last meeting: Championship – Millwall 0-0 Reading (January 27, 2015; The Den)

Last season:

Position: 3rd in Sky Bet Championship (Lost to Huddersfield in the play-off final)

Goals for: 68

Goals against: 64

Top league goal scorer: Yann Kermorgant (18)

2017-18 transfers:

Ins: Vito Mannone (£1.96mil); Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (undisclosed); Pelle Clement (undisclosed)

Outs: Stuart Moore (free); Craig Tanner (free); Jack Stacey (free); Sean Long (free); Danny Williams (free); Dominic Hyam (free); Deniss Rakels (loan); Danzell Gravenberch (loan); Yakou Meite (loan); Jonathon Bond (loan); Paolo Hurtado (undisclosed); Ali Al-Habsi (undisclosed); Tariqe Fosu (undisclosed); Niall Keown (undisclosed); Dominic Samuel (undisclosed); Aaron Kuhl (released)

Reading were within a penalty shootout of the Premier League in May and with the squad at Japp Stam’s disposal that could be considered an over-achievement.

Former Manchester United defender Stam has so far managed to keep eight of the team that started the play-off final loss to Huddersfield.

He replaced veteran goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi with Vito Mannone from Sunderland, and striker Lewis Grabban – who was on loan from Bournemouth last season and has since joined the Black Cats – with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who joined from Wolves. Stam also used his Ajax connections to sign attacking midfielder Pelle Clement from the reserve team of the Dutch giants.

It all looks decent business as Stam seeks continuity with a young side that, like Millwall after their play-off loss in 2016, should learn from a fall at the last hurdle.

Stam has shown so far that he is a shrewd tactician, making the most of resources that other clubs can better, and Reading should be challenging for another top-six spot this season.

Millwall vs. Reading (Tuesday September 26, 2017)

Reading vs. Millwall (Saturday February 3, 2018)

Millwall held on for a draw in the last meeting between these sides with 10 men after Sid Nelson’s red card. But the result did little to help them in their doomed battle against relegation.

Graphic: @ShedCreative