Reading return to Sky Bet Championship action on Saturday as Jaap Stam’s side play host to Bristol City at the Madejski Stadium.
Dubbed by some as the ‘M4 Derby’ – Reading v Bristol City always tends to be an interesting match-up and this Saturday’s game looks no different.
Both teams have enjoyed relatively decent starts to their seasons with the Royals occupying 11th spot in the league, having accumulated seven points from six games.
Two wins, two losses and a draw has seen Stam’s side make a steady start but it’s been nothing to get too excited about.
A convincing 2-0 victory over Birmingham City at St Andrews in their last match saw the club go into the international break with an aura of confidence, and they’ll be looking to make it consecutive league victories on Saturday.
Lee Johnson’s Bristol City sit in 13th spot having garnered six points so far this season and have only lost one fixture all season.
Moving onto this match, Jaap Stam has a selection headache, with an array of options at the Dutchman’s disposal, in particular in the winger positions, with Modou Barrow, Sone Aluko, Adi Popa, Garath McCleary, Roy Beerens, Pelle Clement and Callum Harriott (If fit) to choose from.
For this particular fixture, Stam should look to utilise his trusted 4-3-3 line-up, that we became so accustomed to seeing last season in Stam’s maiden season managing the Royals.
Personally, I feel Stam needs to hand debuts to both new signings, Aluko and Edwards.
Aluko can become a talisman at Reading, and his electric performances for Fulham last season were a fundamental reason behind Fulham’s play-off push.
Creative, skilful and direct, Aluko will be a thorn in opposition defences, and can become a key figure for Jaap Stam’s side this season.
With Modou Barrow on the other side, and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in the middle, that is an attacking trio with a serious potential to excel – Championship defences ought to be wary.
Meanwhile, Edwards can provide much needed experience in the centre of the park for the Royals and his late, surging runs that he is notorious for, can become a key element of Reading’s attacking play.
Alongside Edwards, Bacuna can provide the bite and grit in the middle of the park, doing the dirty work, ultimately allowing Liam Kelly to flourish in more attacking areas of the pitch.
Assuming Obita is fit, he should start left-back, while the rest of the defence remains pretty much the same as what we’ve seen all season.
The Royals defence needs to ensure it remains compact and solid to help relinquish the threat of arguably Bristol City’s most influential player, Bobby Reid.
Reid has a knack of getting himself into dangerous attacking areas, and the makeshift striker has already notched four goals this season for the Robins – His link-up play with Famara Diedhou is a key component of Bristol City’s offensive threat.
So, here’s the XI Jaap Stam should field against Bristol City….
Reading FC fans… Do you agree with this line-up? What would you change? Let us know below!