For the fourth time in under a year, Fulham fans will make the short and unnecessarily arduous trip up the M4 to face Reading at the Madjeski Stadium. To pretty much everybody’s displeasure, Fulham will start their away campaign in the exact place that it ended so agonisingly last season.
You don’t need me to tell you how things ended on that Tuesday night back in May, with the curtain coming down so prematurely on what was an incredible charge by the Whties to the play-offs. Whilst it was jubilation at the time for the Royals and their goading, pitch-invading fans, ultimately they had their own heartbreak when Christopher Schindler scored the winning penalty to send Huddersfield into the Premier League at their expense.
After a third place finish last season and a play-off final to boot you’d be forgiven for thinking that Reading fans are hugely optimistic ahead of this season, however that isn’t quite the case. Over the summer, fan favourite Danny Williams has left on a free to Huddersfield, and player of the season Ali Al-Habsi moved to Saudi Arabia. Vito Mannone is a suitable replacement in goal, but there hasn’t been many other transfers for Royals fans to be excited about, so much so that Jaap Stam named six substitutes on his bench against QPR, reportedly a sign to the board over his transfer market frustration.
All this coupled with a 2-0 defeat for Reading at the hands of QPR last Saturday, there is definitely reason for us Fulham fans to believe that a win is achievable this weekend. If we can get a victory then it will be our first set of three points at the Madjeski in nearly 10 years when Nevland and McBride set Fulham on their way to an unlikely Great Escape.
On Monday’s podcast the Fulhamish boys agreed that whilst a trip to Reading so early on isn’t an ideal situation for us fans, a win for Fulham at the Madjeski could be a real moral-boosting moment for the team. It was evident how painful the experience of losing in the semi-final was for the team, and although Slavisa has said he is not “thinking about revenge”, there’s surely no doubting how much of an extra positive impact a victory here could have.
Results so far:
- L: QPR 2-0 Reading
- W: Reading 2-0 Gillingham
Fulhamish’s Starting Line-Up:
Slav said in his press conference on Thursday that Kevin McDonald is back in contention after missing out against Norwich and Wolfsburg due to injury. If he does come back into the starting XI, than most likely it will mean Oliver Norwood will miss out playing against his former side. This would be a shame for the Northern Irishman, after he impressed so much on the opening day.
The other key question remains who starts up front, with Kamara surely desperate to make his first league start following his move from Amiens. However, he didn’t do too much of note against Wycombe in the cup on Tuesday, and we think it’s more likely that Slav will stick with either Ayite or Kebano leading the line for now.
We’ve got to go for a Fulham win here, there are still problems in the Reading camp, and we really believe Slav’s team will be determined to write some wrongs last season. Ilori is suspended for the Royals, and Fulham are at pretty much full strength, so we’re going to plump for a 3-1 away victory.
Don’t forget to listen to Monday’s episode of Fulhamish for all the reaction to Saturday’s game, and make sure that you’re subscribed on one of the following platforms.