Reading v Wolves
Sunday 28 September
Live on Sky Sports 1
The Royals have been in good form at the Madejski Stadium so far this season, winning three out of four. Frustratingly for them, that defeat was a surprise reverse against lowly Huddersfield. Since then they've put three past both Millwall and Fulham, although they had to battle hard to see off the Lions, who fought back from 2-0 down to level things up last time out, before Simon Cox's late winner, his fourth goal of the season.
They were disappointed to return from Hillsborough empty-handed last weekend. Glenn Murray, a deadline day signing from Crystal Palace, missed a golden opportunity to put them ahead when he missed a first-half penalty and they conceded the only goal late on via a deflected free-kick. Cox was rested for the 2-0 midweek Capital One Cup defeat and Murray cup-tied as Nigel Adkins made seven changes to his starting line-up but both are set to return for this clash.
With their takeover by an Asian consortium finally confirmed, Adkins is delighted with the prospect of some stability off the field and the likelihood of funds to spend in January if he can show that his team are up there challenging for a play-off spot.
Kenny Jackett's side have made a great start to life back in the second tier and currently sit in third place. This has been the result of a series of very impressive defensive performances and they've conceded just three goals in their eight games - the best record in the division.
Away from Molineux they have won only one of their four games though, drawing twice and suffering their only league defeat so far at Rotherham back in the second week of the season. It's at home where they've won four out of four (beating the likes of Norwich, Cardiff and Blackburn) that they have really caught the eye.
Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko have continued where they left off last season and both have already shown they have what it takes to cause defences plenty of problems at this level, netting three times and twice respectively. Dicko should be fit despite limping off at half-time during last week's 1-0 home win over Bolton.
Carl Ikeme's brilliant spot-kick save from Owen Garvan preserved the three points in that game and his fine form, along with that of skipper Danny Batth are among the reasons for the five clean sheets they have accrued in the Championship thus far.
The market makes the visitors the 2.56/4 favourites here which could be a slight misreading of their start to the season. Yes, they've been mighty impressive but mainly on the back of the four wins at Molineux. On the road they were beaten at Rotherham and could only manage a goalless draw at struggling Blackpool, while we have to draw a line through the win over Fulham, given how hapless the Londoners have been so far.
Reading are a better side than any of those three and probably on a par with Charlton, where Jackett's men drew 1-1 10 days ago. The Wolves boss has certainly built a side that isn't used to losing - his men have suffered just one reverse in the last 18 league games. Although some punters will be tempted to back the visitors to record a fifth 1-0 victory of the season, the Royals are generally a strong outfit at home and the draw at 3.412/5 is the recommended bet.
Over/Under 2.5 goals
Wolves' four games away from home have produced just the four goals and it's clear Jackett sets them up to keep things solid defensively as a first priority. His back five are settled, having played together for a while now, and it definitely shows. Where they could struggle as the season develops is at the other end of the pitch. They have scored eight league goals - less than any side in the top-half bar Sheffield Wednesday - and the hope among the Molineux faithful is that a striker can be brought in on-loan over the coming weeks.
In contrast, Reading have scored six times in their last two fixtures but I think they'll find things a lot tougher here given the visitors' miserly rearguard. Although we had our fingers burnt on Monday night when Ipswich's 2-1 win at Wigan breached the 2.5 line, I think we can make up for that here and the 1.855/6 on offer for unders is a tad more generous than I had anticipated, making it a good bet.
Back The Draw @ 3.412/5
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.855/6