After a very poor start to the season, Paul Ince’s Reading looked to have completely turned things around recording three wins on the bounce beating Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Millwall respectively. However, last time out ended that run as early promotion favourites Sheffield United trounced The Royals 4-0 at Bramall Lane.
Despite not spending a penny on transfer fees, Reading look like they have done some smart business in the window this summer, with the likes of Tom Ince, Naby Sarr and Shane Long all coming in on free deals. Those editions have been supplemented with loan signings Jeff Hendrick and Joe Lumley from Middlesbrough and Newcastle. They do enter this one as slight outsiders though, with bookies pricing a home win at 15/8.
Opponents Stoke have had an eventful week, after sacking Michael O’Neil following three disappointing seasons at the club. They moved for Sunderland boss Alex Neil and surprisingly managed to convince him to take the reigns at the Bet365 stadium. Neil did an exceptional job in the North East and the Potters looked to have pulled off a coup by getting the Scot on board.
The former Norwich and Preston manager took charge of his first game on Wednesday as his Stoke side grabbed a last-minute equaliser against Swansea. Neil will be seeking much improvement from his side who have had a poor start to the season. The Potters do go into this one as favourites though with bookies pricing them at 7/5 for the win.