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Sep 25, 2021 at 12.30pm UK
Halilovic (55')
Tetek (49'), Southwood (79'), Rahman (81')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Jones (43'), Peltier (61'), McNair (90+2')
Crooks (86')

Preview: Reading vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Reading vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Reading and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Reading will be targeting a third successive win in the Championship when they host Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Royals have been enjoying a good run of form since the international break, whereas Boro are struggling to find any rhythm.

Match preview

Reading pulled off a shock 2-1 win away at Fulham last weekend, with Ovie Ejaria scoring his first two goals of the season in exceptional style.

The Royals dropped into the relegation zone after their draw with Queens Park Rangers a fortnight ago, but have now risen to 13th after beating Peterborough United and then the Cottagers and are three points outside the playoff places.

Veljko Paunovic's side have not won three matches in a row since the start of March, but will sense an opportunity to build some momentum with a trip to bottom of the table Derby County to come next week.

With just one defeat in their last 11 home league matches, Reading will certainly be confident going into Saturday's game.

Goals have pretty much been guaranteed with the Royals this season, as they are the third highest scorers in the Championship with 15 goals but they also have the weakest defence, having conceded 18 times.

In contrast, Middlesbrough have proved relatively strong at the back so far, as only league leaders Bournemouth have conceded fewer goals on the road this season than the Teesside outfit.

That is about the best thing you can say about Boro at the moment, as they have registered just one win in their last six matches and that came against struggling Nottingham Forest.

Last weekend, Neil Warnock's side went in front early on against newly-promoted Blackpool but conceded two second half goals to lose 2-1.

It leaves Boro sitting 15th in the Championship, with Warnock struggling to inject the same spark as he has done into his previous promotion-winning teams.

Recent history is on Middlesbrough's side though, as they are unbeaten in their last nine games against Reading since 2015, winning eight of those.

Reading Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Middlesbrough Championship form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Reading have no match fit senior centre-backs after Tom Holmes and Michael Morrison both picked up injuries against Fulham last weekend.

Midfielder Josh Laurent dropped into defence at Craven Cottage and he could be partnered by 19-year-old Michael Stickland, who is yet to make a league appearance for the Royals.

Goalkeeper Rafael Cabral is available again after a hand injury, but Luke Southwood should keep his place between the sticks after impressing against Fulham.

Anfernee Dijksteel was forced off injured in Middlesbrough's defeat to Blackpool last weekend, leaving Neil Warnock short of options at full-back.

Winger Marcus Tavernier filled in for the remainder of the game, but it is hoped that either Marc Bola or Paddy McNair are fit enough to return from injury.

Warnock may decide to bring the more physical presence of Uche Ikpeazu back into the team upfront in an attempt to cause problems for Reading's makeshift defence.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Yiadom, Laurent, Stickland, Rahman; Drinkwater, Dele-Bashiru; Halilovic, Swift, Ejaria; Puscas

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; Peltier, Hall, Fry, Bola; Howson, Siliki; Tavernier, Crooks, Hernandez; Ikpeazu

We say: Reading 2-1 Middlesbrough

Reading's confidence will have been boosted by victory over Fulham, but big question marks hang over their defence. However, they come up against a Middlesbrough side yet to get going this season, so may still fancy their chances of victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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