City returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Carlisle, meaning Gary Caldwell’s side have now kept three clean sheets in four matches and sit in 7th place in the table going into a busy week. Caldwell looks ahead to the visit of Reading with issues up front – James Scott is set to miss around a month with the injury he picked up at Portsmouth, while Sonny Cox also picked up a knock in the midweek friendly with Southampton. Elsewhere Ilmari Niskanen’s international clearance should have been received in time for him to feature against Reading.
Relegated largely due to a points deduction caused by off-field financial issues, Reading have been installed amongst the favourites to make an immediate return to the second tier, although early signs were not good for Ruben Selles’ side when they lost their first two league games (although the 4-0 thrashing of Millwall in the EFL Cup was a boon). Successive home wins over Cheltenham and Stevenage have, however, restored some pride for the Royals. Selles has been busy in the transfer market during the summer, with a number of new signings including Cambridge pair Sam Smith and Harvey Knibbs, Lewis Wing from Wycombe, Harlee Dean from Birmingham and Man United’s Charlie “Son of Robbie” Savage. It’s not every day City come up against a player who once cost £35 million, but Andy Carroll is just that – although he hasn’t featured since starting both of the 1-0 defeats that marked the start of the season. Instead the main goal threat appears to be Kelvin Ehibhationham, who has scored four times in league and cup so far.
It was 30 years ago when Reading last made the trip, but it was a game that was etched into history as the first of two 6-4 matches that City were involved in during the 93-94 season. On this occasion it was the visitors that came away with the points, their goals a brace each from Jimmy Quinn, Scott Taylor and Stuart Lovell, while City’s Micky Ross and Ronnie Jepson also netted twice apiece. Things were a little more straightforward at Elm Park, a solitary strike from Uwe Hartenberger giving Reading the points. This was a regular fixture back in the day before John Madejski’s millions transformed Reading into a side that played in the Premier League, and this is shown by the league head to head that, despite a hiatus of 30 years, shows Reading in the lead with 47 wins to City’s 22, 13 matches finishing level.
This fixture also represents the first opportunity for a mutual appreciation of the late Eamonn Dolan. The likeable Irishman held a number of roles at City after his first brush with Cancer finished his playing career, culminating in a season and a bit in charge before leaving for a role at Reading – a club he similarly served with distinction including a brief stint as caretaker manager while Reading were in the Premier League.
Match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Will Finnie
Assistant Referees: Simon Shaw and Lee Freeman
Fourth Official : Marvyn Amphlett
Will Finnie took charge of two Exeter City games last season: the 7-0 demolition of Cheltenham in the League Cup; and the 4-1 defeat to Oxford Utd in the FA Cup.
Interview with Zak Jules:-
Manager Gary Caldwell interview
Reading manager Ruben Selles on Eamonn Dolan https://www.readingfc.co.uk/news/2023/august/25/-eamonn-should-be-an-inspiration/
There will be a celebration of Eamonn Dolan at the match on Saturday https://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/2023/august/celebrate-eamonn-dolan/