Two titanic forces are to clash beside junction 11 of the M4 this Saturday – a gung-ho Blackpool side eyeing the play-offs and Reading’s steely defence looking to lock down a promotion slot.
Recent form and the Royals’ proud home record make the hosts good value at 17/20 to emerge triumphant and resume their promotion push.
Reading have won an imposing nine out of their last ten matches at the Madejski Stadium and conceded a paltry two goals in their last nine games there – suggesting that the Berkshire outfit have more than enough substance to resist Blackpool even at their energetic attacking best.
Ian Holloway’s side have a modest Championship away record this season of six wins from 19 matches, making odds of 29/10 against an away win at second-placed Reading appear shorter than they should be.
Blackpool have also taken just one league win in March to Reading’s four.
The Tangerines can, however, boast the most away goals in the Championship this season (32) thanks to their ultra-positive football.
To get their hands on three vital points on Saturday, Reading will need to defend better than they did on Tuesday night. The Royals were tormented by Peterborough’s strikers and conceded three as they sank to their first defeat in 11 matches.
Blackpool’s hopes of finding their way through the usually rock-solid Royals’ backline are boosted by evergreen striker Kevin Phillips having smashed four goals in his last two games.
With the Seasiders always dangerous, Saturday may well require Reading to continue to flash their improved goalscoring form to get back to winning ways.
Goals have suddenly started to fly in from midfield as Brian McDermott’s side embarked on their promotion charge in February. The Royals have netted 14 goals in their last seven matches, well up on a mere seven strikes in the seven matches before that in all competitions.
Should it be a case of Reading needing to outscore Blackpool, an attractive bet would be backing Reading to win with three goals or more being scored in the match at 17/10.
Recommended bet: Reading to beat Blackpool @ 17/20
Outside punt: Reading to win a game of over 2.5 goals @ 17/10
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