Preview: Reading v Scunthorpe United
Updated Friday, 6th August 2010
Scunthorpe's Championship season starts on Saturday with a trip to Berkshire.
The opening day of the season means we finally find out how the summer departures of Paul Hayes and Gary Hooper affect the first team. Nigel Adkins, the Scunthorpe manager, has brought in Chris Dagnall from Rochdale and Bobby Grant from Accrington, with Dagnall likely to be paired with Jonathan Forte as a first-choice strikeforce this season. Once again the Iron are favourites to be relegated, with Iron supporters hoping the incredible motivating ability of Adkins can help the side once again prove the bookmakers wrong. Dagnall is confident the manager is giving his new team an extra edge this season. "We`ve got a manager with so much positivity. I`ve already seen how that rubs off on the players and that can only help us this season," he said.
Iron team news
The defence is causing the most problems for Adkins, with Eddie Nolan (ankle) and Cliff Byrne (hip) both doubts. Centre-back Rob Jones (groin) is available. Trialist right-back Trent McLenahan has signed on non-contract terms after training with the side during the week. Up front Dagnall and Forte will wait to see if they start in tandem, or if one has to settle for a place on the bench in a 4-5-1 formation.
Reading team news
Striker Noel Hunt (ankle) and winger Jimmy Kebe (groin) are doubts for the Royals, who are without Julian Kelly (groin), Ivar Ingimarsson (hamstring) and Chris Armstrong (knee). Left-back Marcus Williams is poised to make his debut against the side he left on a Bosman transfer in the summer.
Historical achievements: The club have been in the Football League since 1920 but enjoyed their greatest success only recently - winning the Championship in 2005/06 to earn promotion to the top flight for the first time. They finished eighth in their first season in the Premier League, but were relegated in their second. Aided in part by parachute payments and funding from owner John Madejski - who named their new stadium after himself - they have been considered promotion contenders in their two seasons back in the second tier.
Manager: Brian McDermott
Stats and figures
The Royals have won their last three pre-season friendlies, defeating Wycombe Wanderers, Wolves and Southampton. Scunthorpe secured comfortable home wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town. Reading finished ninth in the Championship last season with 63 points, 11 more than the 52 the Iron collected on their way to a 20th-place finish.
Both meetings last season finished in draws: 1-1 at Reading in December then 2-2 at Glanford Park in April, a result that secured the Iron's Championship safety. Two Division two games in 1999/00 also finished with identical scorelines, and these are the only four meetings between the two sides in the past three decades. Historically, however, Reading have the edge with 12 wins compared to just four for the Iron. Eight meetings have ended in stalemates.
Travel and ticketing
Fred Graham (Essex)
Reading 4/6 / Draw 5/2 / Scunthorpe 11/2 (Paddy Power)
Elsewhere in the Championship
The England goalkeeper David James is poised to make his Championship debut as Bristol City host newly-promoted Millwall at Ashton Gate. Steve Coppell, the Robins manager, is without eight senior players. There will be an early marker for promotion form at Turf Moor, where relegated Burnley host Nottingham Forest. Portsmouth head to Coventry City hoping to receive clearance to play Jamie Ashdown and Stephen Jordan after being given permission to sign enough players to have a full squad.Without them they would struggle to be able to field a starting XI as Hayden Mullins (knee) and Jordan (calf) are doubts. Hermann Hreidarsson (Achilles), Danny Webber (knee), Tom Kilbey (knee) and Billy Goddard (shin) are out. Cardiff were waiting for confirmation their transfer embargo had been lifted, otherwise goalkeeper Tom Heaton and midfielders Daniel Drinkwater and Jason Koumas would be ineligible for Sunday's visit of Sheffield United.
Competitive English footballl on TV this weekend
Friday: Norwich City v Watford (Championship, 7.45pm, Sky Sports 3)
Saturday: Southampton v Plymouth Argyle (League One, 12.15pm, Sky Sports 3)
Leeds United v Derby County (Championship 5.15pm BB1)
Sunday: Cardiff City v Sheffield United (Championship, 12.35pm, Sky Sports 1)
Chelsea v Manchester United (Community Shield, 3pm, Sky Sports 1)