Wednesday will be happy to be back on the road
Stuart Gray gave Will Keane a debut against Birmingham City in midweek but the Manchester United loanee couldn’t inspire his new team-mates to victory.
The 22-year-old will stay at Hillsborough until the end of the season having made just one appearance for his parent club but he’ll need better service if he’s to fire Wednesday into the play-offs.
The Owls also need to take gilt-edged chances when presented in tight games and the manager was left shaking his head after Atdhe Nuhui spurned an easy opportunity against the Blues.
Undoubtedly, the Hillsborough pitch isn’t helping at the moment.
There was so much sand around in midweek that Birmingham manager Gary Rowett said he’d considered sending his team out in flip-flops! Gray admits that the surface needs attention but it doesn’t totally explain the fact that Wednesday have only scored seven goals at home all season in the Championship.On balance, it would be no surprise if the players looked forward to their games on the road and it would be no surprise if they grabbed a seventh away victory in 14 matches against Reading at the Madejski Stadium this weekend at 11/4.
Sam Hutchinson is still suspended for the visitors but they’ve won their last two on the road in the league without conceding a goal and gave Manchester City an almighty fright in the FA Cup in between.
Their formation is well suited to the counter-attack and the Royals have been stuttering again lately. Steve Clarke’s men failed to put away struggling Millwall last week, despite their opponents playing the entire second half with only 10 men.
But they are through to the last 16 of the FA Cup and do posses some talented forwards, like Pavel Porgrebnyak and Hal Robson-Kanu, who have played at a higher level so the Wednesday rearguard will have to stay alert.
But they did beat the Berkshire side at Hillsborough back in September so that will give them confidence they can gain a positive result.
The draw in this at 47/20 might be the value. Reading get good support at home and have a decent record but Wednesday have only lost twice on the road in the Championship and won’t be overly concerned if they are forced to defend. Under 2.5 total goals is 4/6.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday, January 31st at the Madejski Stadium.