Reading v Birmingham - Tuesday 20:00
Birmingham pressed Fulham into submission on Saturday, earning two penalties and a red card on their way to a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage. Now Gary Rowett might be inclined to revert to the patient counter-attacking game for which his team are more renowned against a Reading side still trying to add some sense of purpose to their equally-patient passing game.
Take the 11/4 on the away win at the Madejski. Last season, Blues delivered a smash-and-grab masterclass on several occasions with win-to-nil away triumphs at MK Dons (2-0), Brentford (2-0), Leeds (2-0), Bolton (1-0), Derby (3-0) and Reading (2-0). However, with opponents growing wise to that system, this season calls for greater improvisation.
Rowett delivered precisely that against the Cottagers but the Royals might be fair game to fall into his best rehearsed trap given their fixation with Jaap Stam’s new possession-based philosophy. The Royals are anything but a well-oiled machine at the moment and you can rest assured Rowett will have studied the finer points religiously.
Whatever approach he takes, Reading don’t offer much of a goal threat and on the two occasions they’ve conceded the first goal - at Wolves and Newcastle - they’ve subsequently opened themselves up to further damage, so there’s mileage in backing the Birmingham 2-0 correct score at 19/1.