There are no fresh injury concerns for tomorrow’s trip to Reading, Daniel Farke reported in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Jordan Hugill all remain available after returning to action against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, while Kieran Dowell gets closer to fitness. “Tim Krul has been in team training but isn't 100% so we won't take risks,” Farke said. “With Lukas Rupp, if everything goes well we will try to bring him back on Thursday. Both aren't available tomorrow.
“Ben Gibson and Przemyslaw Placheta could join us in the week before Watford, so can be a topic for Boxing Day. "Xavi Quintilla is still doing individual stuff but on the pitch with the ball, so not too far away from team training, but he's still self isolating until his next result "Onel Hernandez has returned to the pitch with some running stuff, working with the ball individually, so not too far away, perhaps we can bring him back to team training in December."
If Swansea's result stays as it is (currently losing 1-0 to Derby as I'm typing this though there is plenty of time for that still to change),we would go 6 points clear of 3rd place with a win tonight, after Brentford, Watford, Stoke and Bristol City all dropped points yesterday, and Reading would drop points too should we win obviously.
Something that is encouraging is that Reading are without Lucas Joao and Yakou Meite, two of their best attacking players who have both been on fire this season.
A point wouldn't be a bad result and if we do avoid defeat tonight I would be satisfied with that, but with the run we're on and the fact that apart from Bournemouth every team below us dropped points this week, this really would be a fantastic game to win.
Seem to be saying this a lot recently, but what a brilliant win! 6 points clear of 3rd
We started really well and even though it was a shocking mistake by Rinomhota, I don't think there could be too many complaints when we took the lead. I know we have scored a few deflected goals this season, but Reading's goal really took the piss. The only attack they'd managed to put together until that point, Aluko takes a shot which gets blocked and deflects to Ejaria, whose shot subsequently takes a massive deflection and goes in. Such an annoying way to concede after we'd dominated the early proceedings. Between that goal and half-time we stuttered a little bit. The quality of key passes was often poor, and we just seemed to rush into decisions rather than composing ourselves and putting a proper stamp on the game. Even then while Reading probably looked a bit more purposeful in possession we still created the better chances, with Rafael making 2 really good saves from Pukki. 2nd half, after we made the changes, we looked a lot better. We really had control of the game. I think it's fair to say there was 'minimal contact' on Max for the penalty (I'm pretty glad there's no VAR in the Championship!) but the way the game was going it was a matter of time before we found another goal, although I'm not sure Reading fans will see it that way. Really well dispatched by Pukki, and from then on even though it's always twitchy when you're seeing out a 1 goal lead late on in the game, I thought we did it really well, and never felt like we were in much danger. So, so pleased with that victory.
Seem to be saying this a lot this season as well, but man of the match for me was Hanley. Just absolutely solid yet again, as was Zimbo to be fair, who's slotted into the team really nicely, and it's going to be interesting to see if Gibson is bought straight back in once he's fit again. The substitutes made all the difference though. Cantwell was a big improvement on Martin (it's to be expected as he's still only a kid finding his way, but he really struggled to have any impact on the game first half) and really helped transform us into more of a free-flowing unit. Someone else who it was so good to see playing as well as he did when he came on, was Kieran Dowell. What a player he looks like he could be for us. He was so good on the ball and was unlucky not to make it 3-1 when his shot hit the post. It would've been a well-deserved goal. Can't wait to see more of him. Max Aarons and Emi Buendia were characteristically superb. Great finish from Emi for the opener. I was impressed by Kenny McLean too. Didn't do anything exceptional, but did everything you'd expect him to do and did it with a lot of energy. Credit to McGovern as well, who I thought had his best game so far, and did great to bail out Zimmermann after a bit of a dodgy back-pass. That said, I'm not too upset that this is probably his last game now that Krul is hopefully back for Saturday.
On Reading, I know they have a couple of their best players out, but in all honesty I thought they were embarrassing. 5th in the league and playing at home, yet they park the bus and don't even try and play football, and the only time they worried our goal is when they got a lucky deflection. How on Earth are they as high as they are in the league? Would've been a shambles had they got anything from the game.
2 tough tests next against Cardiff and Watford, but much like in our promotion season, every time I see a fixture that we could come unstuck in, this group of players finds a way to dig deep and out-do themselves.