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Blades Royal Engagement

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Reading will travel to Bramall Lane tomorrow remaining in their relegation battle which has been eased by recent results. Safety looks certain but they will be looking to pick up further points from their remaining fixtures, starting with Sheffield United tomorrow.

The early form suggested that Reading will be favourites for the drop, They may be starring closely over the cliff edge but a mini-run of one defeat in their last five matches, married with Barnsley’s inability to win football matches, has seen the Royals open up a slender eight-point advantage heading into the home straight. The Tykes, however, have a fixture in hand but Reading should do ‘enough’ to ensure Championship football for the 2022-23 campaign. 

They were managed at the beginning of the campaign by Veljko Paunovic up until 20th February. However, after a series of disappointing results and performances, which included a run of eight straight defeats, the Serbian was relieved of his duties and has been replaced by the interim duo of Paul Ince and former Reading midfielder Michael Gilkes for the remainder of the season. During that baron spell, the Royals were humiliatingly defeated in the FA Cup at non-league Kidderminster Harriers, losing 2-1 in extra-time, and suffering a 7-0 loss at home to Fulham within the space of three days.

 

The Berkshire club head into this fixture following a 2-1 defeat at home to Cardiff City. Despite taking the lead on 7 minutes from former Sheffield Wednesday forward Lucas Joao, however, a second-half rally from the Bluebirds saw them score twice via Alfie Doughty, on 59 minutes, and Will Vaulks, on 85 minutes to win the match.

Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades will be looking to complete the double-over Reading as they search for vital three points in their hunt for a top-six finish. United was victorious in the reverse fixture on 23rd November, with Jayden Bogle netting the game’s only goal. The game, however, was overshadowed by an injury to John Fleck who had collapsed on the pitch – thankfully he has since made a full recovery. 

Like United, the Royals have several injuries causing an interruption in their preparations ahead of this weekend’s clashes with Sheffield United before hosting Swansea City on Monday. They will be without keeper Karl Hein (broken toe), as well as defender Felipe Araruna (knee). They are also expected to be without midfielders Andy Rihomhota (knee) and Alen Halilovic (thigh) and forward Yakou Meite (ankle) ahead of their trip to Bramall Lane.

Last Six Meetings

21.10.2017 – Sheffield United 2-1 Reading (Championship)
27.02.2018 – Reading 1-3 Sheffield United (Championship)
08.12.2018 – Reading 0-2 Sheffield United (Championship)
16.02.2019 – Sheffield United 4-0 Reading (Championship)
03.03.2020 – Reading 1-2 Sheffield United – aet (FA Cup Round 5)
23.11.2021 – Reading 0-1 Sheffield United (Championship)

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