Championship: Reading v Aston Villa:
By Andy Smith
Steve Bruce takes his Aston Villa side away from home for the first time as Villa boss. The former-Birmingham manager travels to the Madejski to face a rejuvenated Reading under new manager Jaap Stam.
Bruce is expected to be without Micah Richards and club captain Tommy Elphick for the visit as both have calf injuries. Last season’s top scorer Jordan Ayew and Leandro Bacuna both return to the mix after being rested for the recent draw against Wolves.
Reading are unable to call upon captain Paul McShane, as the defender is yet to shake off a hamstring problem. Ankle injuries for both Jake Cooper and Yakou Meite will keep the pair out of the visit from Villa.
Three-time Premier League winner Jaap Stam told BBC Radio Berkshire: “It hasn’t been easy for them (Aston Villa) up until now, but with the new manager in place they’ll want to win and get high up the table. But, we want to win our games as well and even against a side like Villa, we will still go for a win.”
Speaking after Saturday’s draw with Wolves, Bruce told BBC West Midlands: “There’s a lot of work to be done. The hardest part in management is always getting over a relegation. We’ve now won only four games in 55, which is an alarming statistic, but it’s my job to find a formula to win.”
It is the first time these two clubs have met since March 2013, when the clubs were both competing in the Premier League. They must now face the reality of Championship football and look for wins in the hunt for promotion.