Reading v Sheffield United Betting Tips & Predictions – Saturday 8th December 2018

Mo Barrow’s injury time equaliser against Stoke last weekend was enough to keep Reading out of the relegation zone. The Royals only narrowly have their head above water though and could well find themselves in the bottom three if results go against them earlier on this Saturday.

Sheffield United were once perched at the top of the table but a poor patch of form has almost seen them slip out of the play-off places. Chris Wilder and his men desperately need a win to get themselves back on track but as they well know, there is rarely an easy game in the Championship.

Top Tips

Sheff Utd to win @ 4/5

Sheff Utd to win by one goal @ 13/5

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Reading News: Royals expecting two back

Reading's Madejski Stadium
Mark Hillary, flickr

Paul Clement was without several names for the 2-2 draw with Stoke last weekend but a return for Liam Moore and Liam Kelly this Saturday appear likely. Moore should be able to shake off a calf strain in time while a mild bout of illness is the only reason Kelly was absent last time out.

The pair have featured in 35 games between them so their manager will be relieved to have them back ready for selection. John O’Shea remains unavailable however alongside current top scorer Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

Sims in possible recall

Reading secured the services of Josh Sims on a season long loan towards the end of August. He was unwanted by parent club manager Mark Hughes but with the Welshman removed from the Southampton hot seat, a new Saints manager may want a closer look at him. The Premier League club have an option of recalling the youngster in January so Sims may be facing one of his final games at the Madjeski Stadium. It wouldn’t be a huge loss for the Royals but the winger has often made a good impact from the bench this season and certainly has a touch of class.

Sheffield United News: Clarke in battle to be fit

Sheffield United's Bramall Lane Stadium

Leon Clarke had scored 14 goals by early December last season but he’s yet to regain that sort of form since. The burly striker has just two strikes to his name this campaign, one coming during his last appearance, the 3-2 win over Brentford. A failed late fitness test denied him an appearance against Leeds at the weekend but a return remains a strong possibility for this Saturday. He’ll need to be assessed closer to the time but if given the all clear, he could find himself starting, with boss Wilder regularly one to mix up his striking options.

Analysis: Reading showing battle despite league position

The Royals may find themselves in the relegation zone by the time this Saturday evening clash kicks off but they are not proving to be an easy side to beat. By battling to the end, they were able to claim draws late on against both Wigan and Stoke last month.

They almost managed the same against Leeds to but Marc McNulty’s injury-time penalty was kept out. Determined all the way to the final whistle, Sheffield United can’t afford to underestimate their opponents but their superior quality may just prove enough.

Unlucky United due a win

The Blades have collected five points from the last possible 15 but their fans will still be wondering how the total is this low. Wilder’s side only lost to Leeds after a gigantic howler from keeper Dean Henderson very late on.

Before that, they missed a penalty in the draw to rivals Sheffield Wednesday and lost their lead in the dying moments when away to Rotherham. It’s been an unlucky period for the promotion hopefuls but the quality they have is still there to see. With the entire side and the fans still believing in the cause and their manager, an away win (4/5) is the result to back here.

Royals won’t be easily subdued

Reading have lost just one of their last five matches, a 1-0 away defeat to Leeds in which they missed a late penalty. Defeats by just a single goal have been common for them this season, accounting for eight of their 10 Championship losses.

West Brom were able to sweep them aside in October but since then the Royals have offered more grit and determination. If they are to walk away with nothing from this game, it’s hard to see them being on the receiving end of a hammering. The Blades are not scoring enough to give another side a hiding so a one goal victory for the visitors (13/5) makes for a fine selection in this game.

Recent Matches

Reading have not fared well against United ever since their five-year period of dominance came to an end. Starting in 2003, the Royals strung together an impressive 11 game unbeaten streak against the Blades but now the tables have been well and truly turned. In their last seven league meetings, the Yorkshire outfit has claimed victory six times with the other match ending all square.

27th February 2018: Reading 1 – 3 Sheffield United

Billy Sharp and Mark Duffy put the visitors ahead here but their lead was halved when Omar Richards hammered home. The Royals ought to have got themselves back on level terms after this but Leandro Bacuna saw his penalty kept out by Simon Moore. A minute later this miss proved very costly as Sharp added his second of the game after being set up by John Fleck.

21st October 2017: Sheffield United 2 – 1 Reading

Sharp ended a near two-month goal drought as the Blades continued their unexpectedly strong start to the season. The newly promoted side more than matched their established Championship opponents who were absolutely lacking in ideas and creativity. Japp Stam’s men mustered just one shot on target during the entire game, a scarcely deserved consolation from Roy Beerens in the 85th minute.

26th January 2013: Reading 4 – 0 Sheffield

Being two divisions apart proved to be telling as Premier League outfit Reading breezed past their guests at the Madjeski Stadium. Noel Hunt grabbed himself a brace while Mikele Leigertwood and Garath McCleary also got themselves on the scoresheet. The full time score was a little harsh on the Blades who did create chances during the game but were unable to find a way past Adam Federici in the home goal.

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