Reading is the next test for Paul Warne’s Rotherham United as they travel to the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday for this Sky Bet Championship fixture. Here we take a look at who the Millers will be facing in our opposition analysis…
In the Dugout:
Reading Under 23 manager Scott Marshall will be leading Reading from the dugout on Saturday as caretaker boss, following the sacking of Paul Clement earlier this month. Marshall has seen one match out as caretaker boss, a 2-0 home loss against Sheffield United.
As a player, Marshall made over 100 career appearances as a defender, starting at Arsenal in 1991 with spells at Rotherham United, Oxford United, Sheffield United, Southampton, Celtic, Brentford and finishing at Wycombe Wanderers in 2004. The 45-year old also represented Scotland at U16, U18 and U21 level. In his loan spell at Rotherham United in 1993/94, he made 10 appearances and scored once.
As a manager, he started as a youth coach at Brentford in 2007 as well as running the Arsenal Soccer School in Muscat. He also worked alongside Paul Lambert at Wycombe before joining Norwich City as their U21 Head Coach in the summer of 2012. He was caretaker at Aston Villa for one game, a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Leicester City before leaving in 2015. He became manager of Reading U23’s in September 2017.
Reading currently sit in the relegation places of the Championship in 22nd place. They are three points off Rotherham, who sit in 20th position. In their last five games, Reading have drawn three and lost two. Reading haven’t won an away fixture since September, a 3-2 victory over Preston. Their last victory came at the beginning of November when they beat Bristol City 3-2 at home. In their last fixture, Reading lost 2-0 at home against Sheffield United, courtesy of goals from Billy Sharp and an own goal by Sam Baldock.
This is the 46th meeting between these sides with Rotherham winning ten of these fixtures. There has been fourteen draws and Reading have won twenty-one times. The Millers haven’t beaten Rotherham in their last four attempts, losing the last three. The last victory was in April 2015 with a 2-1 home victory. Goals by Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington sealed all three points, despite Oliver Norwood scoring for Reading in the dying minutes of the game.
Last time out, Rotherham succumbed to a 2-1 away defeat at the Madejski Stadium. Tom Adeyemi opened the scoring for the Millers, but second-half goals by Lewis Grabban and John Swift sealed all three points for Reading in the Sky Bet Championship.
Ones to Watch
Our Ones to Watch start with Finnish international Anssi Jaakkola. The 31-year old has represented Finland at U21 level and senior level and has played for TP-47, Siena, Colligiana, Salvia Prague, Kilmarnock and Ajax Cape Town before joining Reading in July 2016 on a two-year deal.
In defence, Welsh international Chris Gunter is experienced at this level. Aiming to win his 100th senior cap with Wales after becoming the most capped Welsh player, beating Neville Southall with 92 caps, the 29-year old has also made over 200 appearances for Reading since signing in 2012. He has also represented Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest in his career.
In midfield, John Swift can be a creative influence in a central role. The former Chelsea youth player and one-time Rotherham loanee has represented England from U16 to U21 level, making a combined 43 caps for his country. He joined Reading in 2016 and has scored over 10 goals for the club in over 70 appearances.
Upfront, top scorer Jón Daði Böðvarsson has returned to training for Reading this week. The striker has spent two months on the sidelines but is joint top scorer with Yakou Méïté on seven. The 26-year old Icelandic striker was part of the Iceland side that beat England 2-1, at the UEFA Euro 2016 round of sixteen fixture in France.