There’s a fascinating meeting of two hard-nosed centre halves on the touchline this week as live Championship football returns on Friday night.
Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich make the trip to the Madejski Stadium to play a Jaap Stam-led Reading, with both sides seeking a win to springboard them towards the play-off places.
We’d have paid good money to see these two go in for a 50/50 challenge, but we’ll have settle for watching their teams do battle on the pitch.
Looking back on previous meetings, playing a home has been major factor in the outcome of the result.
The last seven Championship matches between the sides have produced a home winner on six occasions – with Reading scoring a rare away victory at Portman Road in February 2015.
With that being said, all the signs point to a Reading home win at on Friday, but if you believe the Tractor Boys can buck the trend you’ll find them at .
With only a point separating Reading and Ipswich in the table, you might think a draw should be on the cards. Well, not so fast…
There’s a reason our traders have got the draw at , because the simple fact of the matter is when these clubs meet it doesn’t finish level.
Amazingly, you have to go all the way back to 2009 for the last time there was a stalemate in this fixture.
Having had a look at the markets, the value play seems to be Reading to win to nil at .
While both sides won last time out (Reading away at Cardiff and Ipswich at home to Preston), McCarthy’s men have only hit four goals in their last five games since their 4-2 opening day romp over Barnsley.
Reading looked resilient in their previous fixture, as they grabbed a last minute winner and a clean sheet in Wales and confidence should be high heading into the contest.
If you disagree with us (how could you!) and believe that Ipswich will find the back of the net, then the Championship’s joint top scorer Grant Ward maybe your guy.
The on-loan Spurs man has started the season on fire, banging in a hat trick against Barnsley and breaking Preston hearts with a winner last time out.
You’ll find him at to hit the first goal and good value at to score anytime.
Finally, a cheeky outside bet for the opening strike might be Irish cult hero Paul McShane at , he’s hunting a second goal of the season already after netting against Brighton in late August and he’s to find the goal anytime.
Given that Mick McCarthy has been accused of running a sort of rehabilitation home for Irish players at Ipswich (ahem Leon Best), there would be a certain irony if McShane was to score against his team.
By the way, has he let Jan Koller out of his pocket yet?