Reading fans, players and staff alike could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu.
A pre-season spent readying themselves for the Premier League after a successful promotion campaign is nothing new to the Royals.
But this time feels like even more of an achievement. The first time is meant to be the best and nobody connected with the Berkshire club will ever forget their incredible Championship-winning campaign of 2006 under Steve Coppell, nor the eighth-placed finish that followed in their debut Premier League season a year later.
But Reading have not followed convention. Yes, they suffered the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ and were relegated after two years at the top table, but unlike the many first-time Premier League clubs whose stay was all too short-lived (Hull, Swindon, Barnsley, Bradford), Reading have regrouped well enough to earn another tilt at it.
McDermott’s men have already smashed in ten goals in two pre-season games and having scored 69 on their way to the Championship title last year (only three teams scored more), they have the firepower to put a few past their obliging hosts.
Credit for that must go to Brian McDermott, the former youth team coach turned manager who has done such a fine job at Reading, getting the team to play with style while storming to the Championship title. And if anything, the second promotion is even sweeter for a well-respected club run in the right manner by Sir John Madejski.
They may be even-money favourites for relegation with bwin (although interestingly, perhaps as a result of the success of Swansea and Norwich last term, no team are odds-on to be relegated to the Championship) but with some astute signings already made, including a coup in snatching Pavel Pogrebnyak from under the noses of Fulham, McDermott will fancy his chances of finishing above the dreaded dotted line.
The squad are in Portugal on a pre-season tour and their next opponents are CDR Quarteirense, who are huge outsiders at 35/4, with Reading the favourites at 1/5 and the draw at 19/4.
With a straight Reading win bet offering no real appeal at such a short price, the most profitable way to look at this match is to bank on some Royals goals.
McDermott’s men have already smashed in ten in two pre-season games (including seven against AFC Wimbledon) and having scored 69 on their way to the Championship title last year (only three teams scored more), they have the firepower to put a few past their obliging hosts.
It is 7/10 that there are over 3.5 goals in the match and that is the advice for punters using their free £20 bet for registering with bwin on this pre-season friendly.
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