Reading and QPR both suffered FA Cup disappointment on Saturday and it’s the visitors to the Madejski Stadium who could be happier at the end of this ‘blue and white hoops derby’.
Our best bet for this match: QPR/Draw double chance at 11/10 with bet365
Jaap Stam’s return to his former club Manchester United with his Reading side in the FA Cup third round proved to be a big let-down, for the Dutchman’s players were never at the races from the first whistle and bowed out extremely tamely 4-0.
The Royals did not resemble a team aiming for promotion to the Premier League because they only really started playing when 2-0 down and gave opposing goalkeeper Sergio Romero very little to do.
Nor did QPR make it into the fourth-round draw as they lost 2-1 at home to Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers, with Jake Bidwell’s penalty that got them back into the game shortly after the visitors’ second goal the only reward for their efforts.
But Ian Holloway’s side had previously appeared to be back on an upward curve with successive 2-1 victories over Wolves and Ipswich, away and at home respectively, and are fancied to return undefeated from their short journey along the M4.
Chris Gunter (right) of Reading in action during a pre-season friendly match against Swansea City (Getty Images)
It must be said, in fairness, that Reading’s home form has been very strong and a big part of why they are third in the Championship table, giving them an excellent chance of being involved in the end-of-season play-offs which every club down to 13th position can still realistically target.
They have lost only once on their own pitch this term and won the last five on the bounce, so Stam will be confident of a swift recovery on Thursday from the Old Trafford flop.
However, while QPR’s first priority will be to avoid relegation, currently five points above the drop zone, they could give Reading a real test because Holloway will restore his first team after some fringe members of his squad failed to impress – in the manager’s own words - against Blackburn.
As long as that performance did not interrupt the momentum too much, the Hoops from west London should be able to build on those recent wins over Wolves and Ipswich by ensuring they collect at least a point and put a dent in Reading’s promotion hopes.
QPR/Draw double chance @ 11/10 with bet365
Both teams to score @ 39/40 with Unibet