Reading Host Sheffield Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium

Reading Host Sheffield Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium  - FootyNews.co.uk
3rd August 2018, Madejski Stadium, Reading, England; EFL Championship football, Reading versus Derby County; General view of the Madejski Stadium (photo by Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Reading will entertain Sheffield Wednesday at the Madejski Stadium in the long-awaited opening weekend of the Championship season. Both sides will be desperate to hit the ground running after enduring turbulent pre-season campaigns. The EFL placed The Royals and the Owls under soft transfer embargoes in the summer, both lasting for around a month. Wednesday are also managerless after Steve Bruce left to join Newcastle United. Club legend and coach Lee Bullen is in temporary charge.

Madejski Stadium Hosts Reading v Sheffield Wednesday

Team News

Despite the embargoes, both clubs have been able to add new faces to their squads. Wednesday have brought in three new players – all signed whilst in the constraints of their soft transfer embargo. Before jumping ship to Newcastle, Steve Bruce brought in defender Julian Borner from German side Arminia Bielefeld. He’s got big boots to fill after loan defender Michael Hector returned to Chelsea, but Owls fans have been impressed with his displays in pre-season. Elsewhere, Wednesday’s squad has been lacking pace for a few years. Enter Moses Odubajo and Kadeem Harris. The pair arrived on free transfers from Brentford and Cardiff City respectively, and in particular, Harris will add a different dimension to Wednesday’s attack.

The Owls could be without Fernando Forestieri, who has been given a six-game ban for allegedly racially abusing Mansfield’s Krystian Pearce in a friendly last year. However, the Argentine is set to appeal the ban and could feature in the season opener.

Meanwhile, Reading could hand a debut to young goalkeeper Joao Virginia, who joined from Everton on a season-long loan. The youngster is tasked with replacing Damian Martinez. He returned to Arsenal after impressing on loan for the R’s last term. Manager Jose Gomes opted to strengthen his rearguard further by recruiting former Owl Michael Morrison from Birmingham City. Also, Reading fans were particularly happy when Matt Miazga returned on loan from Chelsea. The American defender was a shining light in an otherwise torrid 2018/19 season. Experienced midfielder Charlie Adam is in line to make his Reading bow after joining on a free.

Will Sheffield Wednesday Cope After a Chaotic Pre-Season?

It’s the question on many people’s lips. Wednesday have endured a very testing pre-season and they face the rare scenario of going into a season without a manager, which is far from ideal. However, having Lee Bullen in charge for a short period shouldn’t disrupt preparations completely. The Scotsman has been at the club and worked under several managers as a coach, and he knows the players inside out. The S6 faithful will be hoping he can continue the solid foundations laid down by Bruce prior to his departure.

Bullen has been in this position before and has had varying degrees of success. But he managed to steady the ship despite inheriting the mess Jos Luhukay left, overseeing two wins and two draws.

Prediction

It’s fair to say this Reading team should be a different proposition to the side that started last season. Jose Gomes took over a team that was in the relegation zone, but he led them to survival following a few difficult results early in his tenure. And after having a full pre-season to instill his fluid brand of football into his squad, the Rs could do better than many people expect. Wednesday may have endured a turbulent month in July, but they still possess plenty of quality in their ranks. With all things considered, a score draw seems the most likely outcome here.