It seems strange to think that it was just twelve months ago that Reading had clinched the Championship title, whereas West Ham were preparing for the playoffs. Despite the Royals being the superior side out of the two back then, the tables have turned completely this term with the Hammers set to finish in a safe mid-table position while the visitors are preparing for life back in English football’s second tier.
Even though West Ham did not arrive in the Premiership via the direct automatic promotion route, there were very few fears about the Hammers as they attempted to remain in the division following their immediate return. As well as being backed heavily by their owners, few pundits were worried due to Sam Allardyce – with the ex-Bolton boss not really accustomed to failure when it comes to managing at this level. Nevertheless, while this season has been a resounding success as the club sit in 10th, Allardyce will be hoping for a positive result in the final game of the season after seeing his team win just one of their last seven.
Reading meanwhile have endured a very poor campaign and the Royals have never really put up a serious fight to stay in the division. After finishing last year in such fine form on their way to the Championship title, hopes were high that Brian McDermott could mastermind further success at the Madejski Stadium. However, with McDermott gone, it was left to Nigel Adkins to deal with the clear lack in quality and add a relegation to his C.V. It has to be said that Adkins has really struggled to launch any sort of turnaround and in the seven games he has been in charge of, he has overseen just the one victory. This also means that the club have won just one of their last thirteen and you just have to wonder how they’ll fare when they drop down a division next term.
As for team news, West Ham only have the one complaint with James Tomkins ranked as doubtful to feature through injury. George McCartney will continue to sit on the treatment table with a long-term problem, but they remain the only issues for Sam Allardyce. Reading are in a similar boat with the Royals also having two absentees. They arrive in the form of Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts, who are both struggling with fitness concerns and will sit out this season finale.
Both of these outfits have experienced contrasting seasons, with West Ham being the superior on every level imaginable. With the Hammers also holding the home advantage, our prediction for the clash is going to be a comfortable 2-0 win for Sam Allardyce’s men.