Behind Enemy Lines: Reading

AFTER a 0-0 draw away at Preston in a tough match on Saturday, Neil Harris' side will be looking to continue their good form in their last two games before the international break.

The Lions have 10 points from nine games, one more point than Reading.

Lee Gregory will serve the final game of his suspension after his red card at QPR, while Tom Elliot isn't expected back until after the international break.

Reading have struggled in the early part of the season after losing the Championship play-off final in May. A 1-1 draw at home to Hull on Saturday may buoy the Royals after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson scored a late equaliser, but he has struggled to fill the boots of long-term injury victim Yann Kermorgant.

Reading had almost 75 per cent of the possession, but managed just three shots on target against the Tigers.

Lucas Ball spoke to Royals fan Michael Wade ahead of Tuesday night's fixture.

Twitter: @michaelwade_

Why do you support the Royals?

At some point in our early to mid-teens some friends and I decided to support our local team rather than a Premier League side as we would be able to watch live football on a regular basis rather than making the odd trip to a big club or watching on the TV.

Do you think that your boys will be more motivated after a late equaliser on Saturday?

I hope so. We seem to be stuck in a rut at the moment, so it is probably a good moment for Millwall to play us. But, equally, I have hope that one win could set the ball rolling and boost confidence. Then, hopefully, we can start to put together a run which sees us move up the table and towards the top six.

Have you been disappointed with the start to the season?

Very much so, but there are major contributing factors. We lost two senior players over the summer in Ali Al-Habsi and Danny Williams. Last season's top scorer Yann Kermorgant, who was so crucial to how we played overall, has also been injured and not featured this season.

We have signed a lot of players, and for the most part they look to be good additions but we are still finding our feet and figuring things out. The lack of a striker is definitely the biggest talking point at the club, with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson failing to instantly replace Kermorgant's goals and presence, which is kind of fair enough.

Jaap Stam speaks his mind and he had a go at fans who had booed the team following Saturday's draw with Hull, saying that he can hear them when we're losing but we're not loud enough when we're winning.

It has been a bad start all round and after doing so well last season and being well backed in the transfer market over the summer, I think everyone, including Stam, is feeling frustrated.

Which of Stam’s players will be the danger men at The Den?

Attacking-wise, Sone Aluko looks to be a real handful and a great signing, although Garath McCleary and Roy Beerens are very capable, too. They're all wingers though, and won't score the goals we need to win games.

Defender Liam Moore and midfielder Liam Kelly are technically our best two players and should we not get in the Premier League soon both of them will end up there with another club.

The Lions have been in decent form – which of their players will Reading have to watch out for?

Jed Wallace looks good and Steve Morison is an experienced pro always capable of getting into a good position or finishing a chance.

It will also be interesting to see how Reading academy product Jake Cooper is developing, should he get a game.

Millwall look good enough to stay in the division and I think the real star is Neil Harris who looks to be an up-and-coming manager.

What's your predicted formation and line-up for Reading?

Liam Moore and Paul McShane are the first-choice centre-back pairing, but I would like to see Tiago Ilori given a chance alongside Moore.

We have a strong squad and Jaap Stam is known for changing his team and formation regularly, and at the moment he is doing that in order to try and find a potent attacking line-up that can score more than one goal so we can win a game.

4-5-1, with both wingers pushing right up

Vito Mannone

Chris Gunter Tiago Ilori Liam Moore Tyler Blackett

Sone Aluko Liam Kelly Leandro Bacuna John Swift Roy Beerens

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson

Finally, a score prediction?

I'll be optimistic and say Millwall 1-2 Reading but another low-scoring draw wouldn’t surprise me.

Graphic: @ShedCreative 

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)