Reading v Stoke
Saturday August 18th, 3pm, Madejski Stadium
Brian McDermott did an exceptional job with Reading last season, steering them to the top of the Championship and back into the Premier League.
But while it is one thing to fight your way to the top flight of English football, it is a whole different kettle of fish staying there. As such, The Royals are joint 5/4 favourites with Paddy Power to fall straight back down to the Championship.
So what better way for Reading fans to defy the odds than with an opening day victory at home to established Premier League club Stoke City?
It should be an exciting start to life back in the top flight at the Madejski Stadium, with the likes of Danny Guthrie and Nicky Shorey set to earn their Reading debuts. Reading are without Jimmy Kebe with a hamstring injury while Jason Roberts is suspended for the first two games.
For Stoke, Robert Huth could feature despite a recent viral meningitis scare but Jermaine Pennant is struggling with a thigh strain.
Weighing up all of these points, it may be hard to pick between the price of 7/5 on offer for Reading to clinch a vital home win and the 2/1 odds for Stoke to crush The Royals.
Just don’t go expecting a goal fest at the Madejski Stadium.
Last season, Reading kept 20 clean sheets and conceded just 41 goals. On the flipside, The Potters scored the fewest number of goals in the Premier League last term – only 36 successful strikes.