Talking points ahead of the Brentford game
As we look forward to a local away day at Brentford this Saturday, we take a look at the talking points ahead of our game at Griffin Park....
Will the midweek break work in the Royals' favour? - We were originally scheduled to play Barnsley on Tuesday night, but their involvement in the League Cup meant it was rescheduled. Our opponents Brentford had a long trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, where they were beaten 2-1, but will this break be a help or hindrance? The rest will help us with our injuries, but Brentford will be keen to bounce back after another league defeat.
Aluko's time to shine - Last week against Bristol City, we saw glimpses of what our new record signing is capable of, he's now had two weeks of training and a chance to bed in with his teammates - let's hope we get to really see him come out of his shell. I'm not expecting miracles early, but away from home, I expect Aluko to flourish more with more space in behind, so it could be the game where he stamps his mark.
Does Stam revert to a back five away from home again? - Last time we played away against Birmingham, Stam went with a back five, compared to a back four against Bristol City - this could be an ongoing trend. The back five worked perfectly against Birmingham and I expect to see the same on Saturday with Ilori coming back in, but what does that mean for Barrow or Aluko? I expect the former to be rested with Aluko playing central alongside Bovardsson.
What changes will be made in the midfield? - I expect to see changes in the midfield on Saturday, with either Dave Edwards and George Evans coming in, most likely for Bacuna or Kelly. John Swift is probably not ready yet to play against his former side, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Stam go more conservative with a midfield of Van den Berg, Edwards and Bacuna.
Beware the wounded animal - Despite the fact I thought Brentford were going to be dark horses this season, they've had a slow start to the season with no wins, and sold a lot of their key players in January. It seems the perfect opportunity for the Royals to pounce, but I'm sure the Bees will have plenty to say about the early critics this season, we can't simply write them off yet.