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The EFL Championship season is winding down, and with only five games remaining, Reading vs Cardiff City takes place on Friday night at the Madejski Stadium. Both sides are currently out of the Promotional Playoff which features sides from third to sixth place.
However, Reading only sits five points behind Barnsley and Bournemouth, whom they could leapfrog to get a chance at promotion. As 15 precious points remain on the table, a win against Cardiff City is imperative for Reading and their fans.
Unfortunately for the favorites in this match, they have been quite out of form recently. Reading’s only win in their past six games came against 20th placed Derby County, a stat that will make Cardiff City optimistic. On the other hand, Cardiff City have also been exquisitely poor as of late, despite rolling off six straight wins just in February.
Furthermore, one of Cardiff City’s best performers this season, Sean Morrison, will be out in the center of defense due to injury. This absence will make a huge opportunity for Reading’s offensive pairing of Lucas Joao and Michael Olise.
As Sean Morrison sits out for Cardiff City on Friday night, the Bluebirds will have to make do with a different defensive pairing. This usually would not be a significant issue, unless you are facing one of the best offensive duos in the English Championship.
Lucas Joao has been spectacular this year down the middle for Reading and will surely make life difficult for Curtis Nelson and whoever Mick McCarthy decides to pair alongside him.