READING FC begin their busy Christmas period by hosting Wigan Athletic on Saturday in a spell that sees them play four League One games in the space of 10 days.
Managing minutes and utilising the full squad is likely to be key in a manic stretch of games for all sides throughout the country, while Reading will be keen to put as many points on the board to try and escape the drop zone.
The Royals will go into the game on the back of successive draws. They followed up their midweek derby match with Oxford United in what was a promising display at Lincoln City where they had to settle for just a point in a game where they had two goals disallowed.
Both teams have had to deal with points deductions in the last few seasons. Reading have been docked four points this campaign, while Wigan were deducted eight points at the start of the current season.
The Latics joined Reading in being relegated from the Championship last season and finished in 24th place on 39 points.
Despite starting the campaign on -8 points, Wigan currently sit above the relegation zone in 17th spot on 23 points.
Shaun Maloney’s side have picked up nine wins, four draws and eight defeats which puts them seven points above the drop zone.
They have endured a mixed bag of results in their last five with three draws, a win and a loss.
A goalless midweek draw with Lincoln was followed with a 3-2 loss at Port Vale as an Ethan Chislett hat-trick earned the hosts three points.
Wigan’s last visit to the Select Car Leasing Stadium, in April 2023, ended in a 1-1 draw which confirmed the LAtics’ relegation, but also proved to be a damning result for the Royals.
With both teams in desperate need of a win to try and escape the drop, Charlie Hughes’ 81st minute strike for Wigan looked to give them hope of victory.
However, Yakou Meite scored a 93rd minute leveller in a result which didn’t suit either side as both were eventually relegated.
Predicted Reading line-up: Button, Yiadom, Abbey, Holmes, Dorsett, Craig, Wing, Knibbs, Azeez, Vickers, Smith