We travel to the Royal County of Berkshire for the 27th time in the league, looking to improve on our record in Reading.
Our hosts have four times as many victories in this fixture as we do (16 to four) whilst only six games have finished all square.
Although we lost the opening game of last season at the Madejski Stadium, we had recorded our first win in Reading for 34 years just four months previously. Jermaine Beckford had given us the lead, only for North End to be pegged back in the 86th minute but then Daniel Johnson popped up with the winner in the second minute of injury time.
Our previous triumph, by 3-2 at Elm Park in 1982, was our third in five matches against the Royals at their previous home, but these were spread over a 52 year period. Having recorded our biggest win to date by a 4-1 scoreline in 1930, we did not meet again until 1971 and then there was to be only two further meetings until that 1982 win for the Lilywhites.
Goals are a regular feature of this fixture, but unfortunately we tend to be on the receiving end. Our 4-1 defeat in 2010 was only the second time we had conceded four times, but prior to that we lost 5-1 in 2003 and our heaviest defeat came in 1990.
Les Chapman’s side found themselves 4-0 down at half-time, but stemmed the flow slightly in the second half to restrict the final scoreline to 6-0. Not the best way to mark his first game in charge of the club for Les, but he did enough in the remainder of the season to secure our place in the third division.
One of Les Chapman’s successors in the manager’s office at Deepdale began his playing career with Reading and later returned for a second spell at Elm Park. Gary Peters joined North End as assistant to John Beck in 1992 and took over the reins when John left the club in 1994.
Gary was of course in charge of our promotion side in 1996 having spent a long career as both a full back and defensive midfielder for various clubs in the south of England. He was a trainee with Aldershot but did not appear for them before eventually finding his way to Reading. He made his debut in 1975 and was a regular for the next four seasons before joining Fulham. After three years at Craven Cottage, he joined the Crazy Game at Wimbledon and after a short spell back at Aldershot, he returned to for another four seasons. In all, he made 294 appearances for the Royals, scoring 12 goals and was North End manager for 102 matches.
On This Date
Bob Kelly made his last appearance for North End on April 7th 1934, having joined us from Huddersfield Town two years previously. An inside forward, Bob had made his debut for Burnley in 1913 and is notable for being one of our oldest debutants ever, being three months short of his 39th birthday when he played in a 3-2 home defeat to Bradford Park Avenue.
Despite his advanced years, Bob spent two years at Deepdale, scoring 19 goals in 84 appearances, but still he wasn’t done, as he went on to play for Carlisle for two seasons before turning his hand to management with the Cumbrian club and later Stockport County.
Michael Robinson made his North End debut as an 18-year-old striker in a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff City on this date. He made a further substitute appearance that season and over the next three years played 54 games in all, scoring 17 times before attracting the attention of Manchester City.
He later played in the FA Cup Final for Brighton and wore the red of Liverpool with distinction before moving to Osasuna in Spain. Long settled in that country, he has established himself as the leading football pundit on television in his adopted land.
Last Five Games At The Madejski Stadium
Reading 1 (Swift) Preston North End 0, 6th August 2016
Reading 1 (Quinn) Preston North End 2 (Beckford and Johnson), 30th April 2016
Reading 2 (Kebe, Robson-Kanu) Preston North End 1 (McCarthy, og), 5th April 2011
Reading 4 (Kebe, McAnuff, Sigurdsson, Church) Preston North End 1 (Wallace), 2nd May 2010
Reading 0 Preston North End 0, 7th February 2009