CRYSTAL PALACE - READING
I am not really sure what went wrong with Reading, after looking to be coasting towards promotion and probably the title too, the goals simply dried up and a series of lack lustre performances allowed Birmingham to reclaim a top two place and also some of the "pack", especially Cardiff, to close in.
However, they stopped the rot with a fine win at Doncaster in midweek and have looked far happier on the road recently, away from the pressure of expectation at the Madejski Stadium. Boss Steve Coppell changed things around at Rovers playing a 4-3-3 line up, the players loved this, they created eight attempts on target, no mean feat against the miserly Donny defence and Reading look set to continue with this formation.
The visitors have to win this, they trail Birmingham by four points, albeit with a game in hand and with this a late kick off and the Midlands side facing Norwich at home, the gap might be bigger before the start. I remain confident in my belief that Reading are the best team in the division and very few english coaches are superior to Coppell, he is tactically astute and inspires great loyalty from both players and supporters alike. Hugely important at this stage of the season is that not only does Coppell have one of the biggest squad's in the country, but all are fit and available.
We talked about Palace in midweek, where everything I said was pretty much spot on, they played the younsters and persisted with an open attacking style, they are not a team we should be rushing to back just now, as they are very much going through a transistion period and are already building for next season.
6.5 points Reading -1/4 ball 2.05 asian line.