Nottingham Forest and Reading finished in the top six of the Championship last season, although neither have looked like challenging for promotion this time around.
While the division is typically wide open this term, Southampton are leading a merry dance at the top of the table and Forest’s immediate concern is to avoid getting embroiled in a relegation scrap, with the Tricky Trees just two points above the relegation zone.
Steve Cotterill made an instant impact by securing wins over Middlesbrough and Blackpool, although Saturday’s home defeat against Hull has put an end to the mini-recovery. You can get 7/5 (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) that Forest pick things back up on Tuesday night against a Royals team struggling to string results together.
Brian McDermott has a tough job on his hands to emulate last season’s play-off final appearance, especially as Shane Long has been sold to West Brom, although recruiting Adam Le Fondre was a smart piece of business and the former Rotherham forward has adjusted well to the standard required.
Le Fondre is 13/2 (bet365 – £200 free betting) to score the opening goal at the City Ground, while his team are 2/1 to claim all three points, having already won matches at Leicester, Bristol City and Burnley this term.
Indeed, it has been eight games since the visitors tasted defeat and Saturday’s goalless draw at Palace nearly saw Reading nick things at the death, although the fact that four of the last five matches have been draws means that the 12/5 about this game ending all square could be the bet to have.