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Match Previews

READING PREVIEW

30 March 2021

After some well-earned rest for the Reds, we kick off the Championship run-in with a televised clash against the visiting Royals on Good Friday.

After an outstanding 12-game unbeaten run, where Barnsley established themselves as a contender for the end-of-season playoffs, the Reds did however limp into the final international break of the 20/21 campaign slightly, with defeat against struggling local rivals, Sheffield Wednesday last time out.

An opening half-hour at Oakwell in which the Reds ought to have been at least two goals to the good but for poor finishing and yet more lamentable decision-making from the officials eventually gave way to a battling performance from an Owls outfit languishing in the relegation zone. 

Once a product of the Academy system here on Grove Street, striker Jordan Rhodes came back to haunt Barnsley with a well-taken brace that put an end to the Reds' stunning form, despite a late Carlton Morris strike that for a while had us wondering if a dramatic comeback was on.

So just the 13 points from a possible 18 through March. Which left the Reds 5th in the Sky Bet Championship as we entered the hiatus for international football. A staggering points total at this level of 64 so far, with eight games left to navigate and a five point gap to the side in 7th.

That team in 7th is AFC Bournemouth who face the club two points further back in Middlesbrough on Good Friday, but at 3pm, with the Reds' clash with the Royals kicking off at 5.30pm due to the presence of the Sky Sports cameras. 

The Royals of Reading are the team in 6th, our opponents first up on this Easter weekend that could well prove pivotal in terms of deciding the fate of those clubs chasing the playoff dream. 

Reds' Head Coach, Valérien Ismaël believes that perhaps four wins from those remaining eight fixtures would be enough to secure Barnsley a playoff finish at second tier level for the first time since the year 2000. To get win number one against your nearest challengers would be more than ideal. 

But in Reading, the Reds are facing a side who beat them back at the dawning of this 20/21 season. September's 2-0 victory for the Biscuitmen was one of seven in their first eight Championship outings, a sequence that saw them as early frontrunners in the race for promotion to the top flight.

That form however, has never been matched since. It's been a rather up and down, inconsistent season for Reading but that early season form coupled with an unbeaten run through the Christmas and New Year period sees them well-placed going into the final clutch of fixtures. 

They are winless in their last three matches though, but did triumph on their last journey to South Yorkshire in beating Rotherham United 1-0 at the end of February. 

Serbian coach Veljko Paunović was as unknown on these shores as most of our own recent appointments have been, but he's certainly impressed having joined the Berkshire-based outfit after a previous spell in the MLS with Chicago Fire. 

The Royals have former Reds defender Andrew Yiadom still amongst their roster and a handful of exciting attacking players, such as former Wednesday striker Lucas João and powerful frontman Yakou Méité, who has recently returned from injury. 

Club News

IFOLLOW UPDATES

25 March 2021

Due to broadcast restrictions, there will be no Match Passes available for this clash on iFollow Barnsley, but all Seasonal Members will still have access, and of course, live audio commentary will be available with Matt Bailey on the mic from around 5.15pm.


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