After a terrible performance on Saturday against Bristol City and another trip around the managerial merry-go-round, Blues face promotion-chasing Reading at St. Andrew’s tonight (7.45pm).

Well… what a difference a few days make! Blues fans were up in arms on Saturday night after yet another lacklustre display and depressing press conference from then-boss Aitor Karanka. His post-match press conference inspired exactly zero confidence and the shrug count was up to at least 35.

Then suddenly everything changed.

News broke Sunday afternoon that Karanka has left the post and eventually after over 50 hours of waiting, Blues fans got the news they had been expecting and waiting for – Karanka had gone, and his replacement was a beloved Blue – Lee Bowyer.

Bowyer now has a baptism of fire as he faces possibly the four toughest games that Blues have left this season, starting with tonight’s game against Reading. On the upside, Bowyer has a free hit as not many people will be expecting Blues to get anything out of the next four games, plus there is an International break in between as well. This will give him some time to get to know the players.

Twitter account @blues_breakdown has provided the below analysis on Bowyer’s preferred formations and playing style:

Reading come into this game unbeaten in their last four and are having a great season. They have only dropped out of the top six once, and then only for one game. With Norwich seemingly “champions elect” the Royals will be pushing hard to take that second automatic promotion place. With teams around them continuing to win games, Reading can’t afford to drop points.

Last Time Out

When Blues travelled to the Madejski Stadium in December, Blues were in high spirits after taking three points with them from Ashton Gate in the game before. A brace from Jon Toral gave Blues a first half lead, with Yakou Meite halving the deficit in the second half. Blues then had to play out the last 20 minutes of the game with ten men, when Harlee Dean was sent of for bringing down Meite and picking up a second yellow card. Up stepped Lucas Joao to bring the game level, but Etheridge dived to his right and saved the spot kick as Blues left reading with all three points.

YouTube: HIGHLIGHTS | Reading v Blues

TEAM NEWS

Blues

Only Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) is unavailable.

Reading

Ovie Ejaria, Andy Rinomhota, and former Blues skipper Michael Morrison are also all closing in on returns to action after recent injuries.

Current Form – Last 6 Games (in all competitions)

Blues – L L D W L W

Reading – D W W W L L

Head-to-Head… 

Blues wins: 16 

Draws: 12 

Reading wins: 14

Last four meetings between Blues and The Royals…

Championship 09 Dec 2020 – Reading 1 Blues 2

Championship 07 Mar 2020 – Blues 1 Reading 3

Championship 07 Dec 2019 – Reading 2 Blues 3

Championship 05 May 2019 – Reading 0 Blues 0

OFFICIALS

Referee: ANDY WOOLMER 

Assistant Referees: Sam Lewis and Nick Greenhalgh 

Fourth Official: Daniel Middleton

Focus Prediction

This is a tough game to call. We do not know what team Bowyer will pick or the formation he can play, and historically teams that get a new manager in have that “lift” of being freed from the previous regime. Likewise, Reading will be desperate to not lose ground on the teams around them, but this isn’t the game they would have prepared for.

After Bowyer’s appointment I feel positive, and I am going to take that into my prediction. Blues to win 1-0

What are your predictions for the game? Let Us Know!