Reading manager Mark Bowen told Wokinghampaper how Derby County are vulnerable and brittle ahead of their Championship meeting at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
The Rams head to Reading having failed to win in their last five games. Moreover, they have lost five straight games on the road without scoring a goal.
It is Derby’s worst run of form for almost a decade. And with injuries still ruling the likes of Graeme Shinnie out of action, it may not improve anytime soon.
Bowen believes his side’s upcoming opponents are finding it tough right now.
They are a team that is vulnerable and are finding it tough at the moment, we know they’ve got quality but they’re going through a period where they are brittle. We say that guardedly because I wouldn’t say we are in a rich vein of form ourselves. It’s all about starting fast, being confident and taking our game to them.
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Derby need to arrest their slide, especially away from home.
The last time Phillip Cocu’s side scored on the road was via a Tom Huddlestone penalty in the 2-2 draw at Barnsley at the end of October.
Reading current find themselves lower than Derby in the Championship table. The Royals have won just one of their last six games, losing their last two at home.
Derby have a good recent record at the Madejski Stadium. Tom Lawrence scored a stunning last-minute winner there last season in Frank Lampard’s debut as Rams boss.
While that now seems a long time ago, some existing players can use it as motivation for this weekend where one bright spark could secure Derby a much-needed win.