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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Wolves can regain their bite with visit of Reading

League leaders to get back on track

Diogo Jota is back to boost Wolves
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 5.30pm Saturday

Wolves have hit the skids almost as quickly as pedestrians in the grip of the Beast from the East but the runaway Sky Bet Championship league leaders can steady themselves with a victory over struggling Reading.

It’s no wins from three games - and only three in their last ten - for Nuno Espirito Santo’s title favourites. They have given their promotion rivals a glimmer of hope with just a quarter of the season remaining but the Royals’ visit should give them a chance to get back on track.

Wanderers still hold a six-point lead from nearest challengers Cardiff and are ten points clear of third-placed Aston Villa, but with crucial games against the Bluebirds, Leeds, Villa and Derby to come, they’ll want to make sure they don’t slip up in games they are expected to win.

This is one of those fixtures and they are just 4-9 to justify such optimism.

Joint-leading scorer Diogo Jota returns from a suspension to lead the charge and is likely to be thrown straight back into the action by manager Nuno.

Jota has 12 goals this season along with Leo Bonatini but Bonatini may be relegated to the bench after struggling in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Fulham.

Losing to the Cottagers is no disgrace. They are the form team of the division, and it may serve as a reminder to Wolves that they won't have it all their own way in the run-in.

Reading will certainly look to make that the case but it’s hard to see them being anything more than a nuisance.

Jaap Stam’s men are just four points clear of the relegation zone and have picked up only five wins from 17 away league games.

It is a month since the Royals tasted a league victory and they’ve won just one of their last five meetings with Wolves.

Wanderers got the better of Reading 2-0 at the Madejski in November and it’s easy to envisage a similar outcome.

The 2-0 correct score is an 11-2 shot but it may pay to keep a Reading goal in the equation.

The Royals do not win many but they possess a goal threat and have notched in six of their last seven outings in all competitons, so a Wolves win with both teams scoring looks the way to go.

Wolves to win & both teams to score
1pt 5-2 general

Didi Hamann: I don’t see Wolves making a mess of this now

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Sky Bet Championship standings

Team news
Ruben Neves serves the last game of a suspension but Diogo Jota returns and is pushing for a recall along with Benik Afobe.

Garath McCleary is out with an ankle problem. Mo Barrow (ankle) and Sone Aluko (illness) may return after missing the midweek defeat to Sheffield United.

Key stat
Wolves have lost just two of their 15 Sky Bet Championship home games this season

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It is a month since the Royals tasted a league victory and they’ve won just one of their last five meetings with Wolves
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