I’ve been optimistic about our prospects all season and that hasn’t changed despite a disappointing couple of weeks.
However, we’re in a difficult moment.
Cardiff and Villa have collected some very useful results of late and both get their opportunity to further chip away at our lead ahead of this late kick-off.
By 5.30 there could be a fair amount of pressure on Wolves to get the result, particularly with two difficult games to follow, so a big performance is required.
This group of players should relish the challenge though and are perfectly capable of winning the next three to all but confirm promotion.
Reading go into Saturday’s game at Molineux with morale as low as it’s been all season, if not in many years. A run of just one win in the last 14 league matches has the team looking anxiously at the bottom three, which is now just four points away, and the fans asking why Jaap Stam is still in his job. The football has been tedious at best, with Reading apparently prioritising keeping the ball over doing anything useful with it.
Added to that, the last two outings (3-3 draw with Derby, 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United) has seen some truly shocking defending, with players unorganised and shirking out of challenges. Injuries certainly haven’t helped – experienced centre halves Paul McShane and Tommy Elphick are out for a few more weeks, key creative player John Swift has barely played this calendar year, while Reading desperately missed the pace of Modou Barrow in Tuesday’s loss – although he should return on Saturday.
When the two sides met earlier in the season, Reading fans took heart from what we accepted as a good performance despite the result. The attacking play was better than it usually is, but in the end quality shone through, and the key moments went in your favour: two well-taken goals and a terrific save from John Ruddy to deny Barrow in the second half. However, we’re certainly not expecting a repeat this weekend – Reading look as far away from a good performance right now as they ever will be, and Saturday is likely to just be damage limitation.
Even without Neves, I’m convinced if we get the average performance out of the following team there’s a high likelihood we’ll get the victory.
I wouldn’t start performing major surgery on the team just because we were out played by Fulham. I’d still keep N’Diaye and Saiss in the middle and a front three we know can deliver.
Afobe still hasn’t been given a start, so this could be his moment, but Jota is well overdue a big performance so I’m hoping we’ll get it tomorrow to put us firmly back on track.
I’m feeling jittery about this one (not least because of the ex-Wolves connection), but I’m going to back us for a 2-1 victory. I think Reading will have a lot of the ball as they always do though, so patience might be required.
Here’s Simeon’s view on how it might unfold to give us all a lift:
I always like to think of myself as an optimist, but I’m struggling to see any way Reading can come close to getting a point against you. Although it’s unlikely you’ll match our points record for the division, you’re undoubtedly one of the best sides the Championship has seen in recent years, and you’ll have fun on Saturday against a particularly poor Royals side. Can we persuade Sky not to broadcast it? Wolves 4-1 Reading.
Up The Wolves!