Reading v Ipswich - Friday 20:00, Sky Sports 1
Ipswich were spanked 5-1 on their last visit to the Madejski 12 months ago, in the same Friday night slot on the back of the September international break. The Tractor Boys were embracing a more expansive, attack-minded approach at the time but Steve Clarke had their cards marked and it backfired spectacularly as Orlando Sa ran riot with a hat-trick.
Naturally, Mick McCarthy was horrified and Ipswich went back to basics with a 1-0 victory next time out at Leeds. But you could argue their season never really recovered from the Reading result and the damage it did to confidence. McCarthy will be mindful of the parallels between then and now, and he’ll be demanding a performance far removed from the memory of that evening.
The departure of Darryl Murphy to Newcastle leaves the Suffolk outfit short on quality up front. McCarthy has added a bit more variety to his attack with the captures of Leon Best, Tom Lawrence, Jonny Williams and Conor Grant but it could take them a while to gel, so expect the visitors to prioritise discipline and take the 13/5 available on under 0.5 Reading goals.
The market suggests Reading are superior, which is quite a leap after just five games under Jaap Stam. Comfortable defeats at Newcastle and Wolves suggest the Royals are some way short of being promotion contenders, games against Preston and Cardiff have been edged by the odd goal. This one should be equally tight but might go the other way.