20th placed Rotherham host 22nd placed Reading in a bottom of the table clash on Saturday at the AESSEAL New York Stadium as both teams continue their battle for survival in the Championship. With only 3 points separating the two sides, Rotherham could find themselves in the relegation zone by Saturday evening if they lose to Reading and results elsewhere go against them.
Rotherham have won only one of their last 14 games in the Championship, losing 4 and drawing 9. Paul Warne’s side are without a win in the league since the 2-1 victory over Swansea at the beginning of November. His side have subsequently drawn 4 and lost 1. The resilience in recent weeks which produced 4 drawn games needs to be upped to record a first win in 6 games and improve their negative goal difference. The Millers are one of the least goal scoring sides in the Championship with 21 goals scored in 21 games while conceding 32 goals.
Rotherham were held to a draw by Sheffield Wednesday last week in a four goal contest despite coming from behind to move into the lead with 2 goals via Michael Smith and Richie Towell in the 46 and 55th minutes. Smith is now the joint top scorer for Rotherham with 4 league goals after scoring 3 in his previous 7 games.
Reading’s caretaker manager Scott Marshall is failing to create the desired results as the Royals have dropped into relegation places having lost 2 of their last 3 games. Erstwhile manager Paul Clement looked to have steadied the ship after victories against Millwall and Bristol in October and early November but ultimately failed to improve the team’s fortunes and was sacked in the first week of December with the Berkshire club winning only 4 of their 20 games this season.
The Royals have conceded 34 goals this season meaning they have the 5th leakiest defence in the league and have failed to score in 10 Championship away games in 2018 while winning only one of their previous 14 games in the league. Icelandic forward Bodvarsson is Reading’s best player this season, despite missing the last 2 months with injury. He has 7 league goals from 11 games so far.
Saturday’s game is the 46th meeting between the two sides. Reading have 21 wins to Rotherham’s 10, whilst there has been a draw on 14 occasions.
John O’ Shea is out for Reading with a hamstring problem while David Edwards remains unavailable since September due to a ligament injury. Liam Moore is expected to require a few more days to be able to recover from his calf injury. Saied Ezzatolahi and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson are also recovering from their thigh and back injuries respectively. Jordan Obita remains out with a cruciate ligament injury.
Rotterham have long-term absentees in Kyle Vassell and Darren Potter while defender Clark Robertson will miss this game due to injury. Paul Warne is expected to recall Joe Newell for this game.
Rotherham are the team in relative form with 4 draws from the previous 5 while Reading have 2 losses in the last 5. The managerial situation over at Reading is not helping matters and they remain a poor travelling team. If any side take the maximum points on Saturday, it’s likely to be the Millers.