Behind Enemy Lines: Reading

MILLWALL are looking for back-to back Championship wins, and first win on the road, since April 10 when they travel to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

After a promising performance against Nottingham Forest, the Lions backed it up with an excellent 2-1 win over Aston Villa, who have since appointed Dean Smith as their new boss.

Shaun Hutchinson could return to Neil Harris' starting XI for the first time since August 22, while Tom Bradshaw should be confident after his first two competitive Millwall goals, for the under-23s against Watford last week.

Reading boss Paul Clement is under pressure heading into this game, and there is a feeling that one or two more poor results may see the end of his tenure in charge of the Royals who, after struggling last season, look set for another relegation battle.

Lucas Ball spoke to Jake Moore this week.

Twitter: @JakeMoore352

Why do you support Reading?

My best mate started going so I went with him a few times and never looked back since.

What's been your favourite season following the Royals?

My best season following Reading has to be the play-off season a couple of years back. I rarely missed a game and where we ended up – in the final against Huddersfield at Wembley – was totally unexpected.

And the worst?

The worst has to be this season so far. We could still turn things around but I’m not confident that we will.

There just seems to be such a negative mood around the place from every area of the club. Staff are leaving, players aren’t putting in the effort and now fans are slowly drifting away from attending games.

We’re very much on a sinking ship at the moment.

Paul Clement seems to be running out of time to turn things around at the Madejskit, do you think he should keep his job?

I’m not sure sacking Paul Clement is a wise move. The problem is higher up than the manager so I feel he should still be given a chance.

Also, there’s nobody really available that I feel would do better at the moment so I’d say we should stick with him.

Reading have dropped off massively in the last two years since the play-off final, what's gone wrong?

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact reason for the club’s fall over the last couple of years, but I’d say poor recruitment is definitely up there. We just haven’t signed players good enough to allow us to challenge for promotion again.

There are problems far deeper than just not signing players good enough, but I don’t think the board even knows what they are – or how to fix them.

Millwall won both meetings between the two sides last year, will that play on the minds of Royals fans and players?

No, I don’t think it will.

Millwall haven’t started much better than Reading this season so I’d like to think the players fancy their chances, but who knows?

Last season was a completely different time, so I’d expect they won’t really focus much on previous results.

The Lions went on an eight-game winless league run before that game against Aston Villa, would you agree that the international break came at the wrong time for Neil Harris' side?

To be honest, I’d say the international break came at a good time, regardless of previous results. It gives time for everyone to regroup, reassess and focus on re-starting in a better way.

Shane Ferguson has returned from the wilderness to grab a goal and assist in his last two games, what are your thoughts on him?

I’ve not really seen Shane Ferguson play much before, but I’d be wary of the fact he has scored and assisted in his last two because it’ll mean he’ll be heading into this game with an extra edge of confidence – which is something the majority of our players are lacking.

Who will be Reading's danger men on Saturday?

Danger men for us is a hard question to answer because you just never know who’ll turn up on the day.

I’d have to say Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who’s been our best player so far this season, in my opinion.

Tiago Ilori is also another player who’s looked promising for us throughout the first few months.

Likewise, which Millwall players will Clement's men be wary of?

I’d say we’ll have to look out for Jake Cooper. I have seen he’s been playing very well and he’s always a threat from set-pieces.

If you could sign one of Neil Harris' players, who would it be and why?

If we could sign any Millwall player, I’d have to take Jake Cooper back. I don’t think we should’ve let him leave in the first place and he seems to have really progressed under Neil Harris, so it’d have to be him.

What are your thoughts on Neil Harris?

Neil Harris has always been one of my favourite managers. Mainly because of his story with Millwall and also how connected he is with the fans (something we’re missing at the Madejski).

I think he’s a great manager and I’d love to see him managing in the Premier League soon.

What's your predicted starting XI and formation for the home side?

It’s hard for me to pick a starting XI as Clement always likes to change it up. We’ve also had injuries hit a couple of players so I can definitely see changes for this game regardless.

Will you be at the game?

Yeah, I’ll be there and hopefully to see three points for Reading.

Finally, what's your score prediction?

My heart is saying Reading 2-1 Millwall; but my head’s telling me Reading 0-1 Millwall.

Graphic: @ShedCreative