Reading head into tomorrow night’s clash against Derby County with three consecutive wins under their belt and ten points from a possible 12 since the international break.
Similar to Sheffield United, only a stoppage-time equaliser at home has prevented a 100% win record since the last international interval and they could now be looking towards a much brighter future after a torrid start.
Their current form is a far cry from their early-season results, when they lost four of their opening five league games of the campaign and were soundly beaten 3-0 at home by Swansea City in the first round of the Carabao Cup after fielding a very inexperienced team.
Quiz: Have Reading FC ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
However, they may face a bit of bad news in the near future despite managing to get themselves out of a rut, with a potential points deduction coming down the tracks after breaching the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules.
As per journalist Courtney Friday, the most likely outcome from the negotiations between the Royals and the EFL is a six-point deduction, something Veljko Paunovic’s side would probably take on the chin after breaking the rules by over £50m.
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They face a team in even more turmoil after their administration, with Derby County automatically being docked 12 points because of that and in real trouble at the bottom of the second tier.
Focusing more on Reading though, what starting lineup will they go with for tomorrow night’s clash at Pride Park?
We have had a go at picking the 11 Veljko Paunovic is likely to go with.
After a decent performance against adversity against Middlesbrough, you could argue that a winning team shouldn’t be changed but for the purpose of rotation, George Puscas comes in for Junior Hoilett who seemed to sustain a minor nose injury on Saturday.
One player who definitely does retain his spot tomorrow night is Luke Southwood, who has put in three exceptional performances since coming in for Rafael Cabral and deserves another start between the sticks again. He shouldn’t come out for Rafael barring an injury, suspension or sudden loss of form.
Baba Rahman also retains his place as the Royals’ only natural left-back, with makeshift duo Josh Laurent and Andy Yiadom staying at the heart of defence after helping the second-tier side to keep their first clean sheet of the season on Saturday.
Dejan Tetek starts at right-back again after dealing well with the dangerous Isaiah Jones at the weekend, although he may be a doubt for tomorrow after sustaining an injury near the end of the last game. Ideally, he and Scott Dann would be given 45 minutes each, with Yiadom going back out on to the right in the second half. This may unsettle the defence though, so it will be a tricky call for Paunovic to make.
What won’t be a tricky call is keeping the central midfield trio together. Andy Rinomhota may return for this match, but after a while out, he should be on the bench if he can return, with Danny Drinkwater, Tom Dele-Bashiru and John Swift starting again. The next international break is coming up soon, so you could probably risk starting the latter again.
On either wing, it has to be Alen Hailovic and Ovie Ejaria again, although it would be good to see Junior Hoilett come on and give the Royals something different going down the wing on the hour mark if they need to find a way through.
And up front, with the unenviable task of facing experience duo Curtis Davies and Phil Jagielka, George Puscas comes in. He will have no shortage of motivation after failing to score his first goal of the season yet and being kept out of the starting lineup over the past couple of games by Junior Hoilett.
For the Royals, they will be hoping to have both Dann and Rinomhota available for this tie, with Hoilett as a dangerous option on the bench. However, injuries to attacking options including Lucas Joao and Yakou Meite mean teenagers Jahmari Clarke and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan come on to the bench again.
Predicted Substitutes: Rafael, Stickland, Dann, Rinomhota, Hoilett, Clarke, Ehibhationham