Date: 25th August 2017 at 3:57pm
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Overview

Reading are the visitors to St. Andrew`s tomorrow afternoon as Blues look to head into the international break with a win.

Following last Friday`s extremely disappointing defeat at Burton, Harry Redknapp will be looking for a much stronger performance from his players against the Royals.

The midweek cup tie with Bournemouth gave Redknapp the opportunity to try out the 5-3-2 formation that he’s looking to move forward with.

There were plenty of positives in that game, particularly in the first half where Blues performed very well with Isaac Vassell leading the line.

However, we have been hit hard with injuries in the striker position with Che Adams, Vassell, Clayton Donaldson and potentially Lukas Jutkiewicz all out of tomorrow’s game.

That leaves new loan signing Sam Gallagher as Redknapp`s only striking option.

Approach

I fully expect Blues to stick with the 5-3-2 formation they tried out in midweek and that could mean league debuts for Cohen Bramall, Gallagher and possibly Carl Jenkinson.

With the players Redknapp has brought in, it’s clear that we`re going to be moving forward with this system.

It gives Blues the opportunity to be solid at the back, in midfield and then a lot more creative going forward with wing backs and two forwards.

With the lack of strikers available to Redknapp, Jacques Maghoma is likely to play just off Gallagher up front and I certainly think that’s a combination that could work well.

Despite a few shaky moments, the pace and raw ability of Bramall will give Blues an outlet on the left hand side that we perhaps lacked beforehand.

There’s going to be a lot more pace in this new look Blues side so hopefully that’s something we can look to hurt Reading with, particularly down the flanks.

Exploit

Jaap Stam`s side have had an identical start to Blues with one win, one draw and two defeats.

They still seem to be recovering from their play-off final defeat at the end of last season and I’m not 100% certain that they’ve decided on a system going forward.

Blues will definitely cause them problems and it’s obvious that we’ve got to make the most out of our wing backs and the outlet they provide for us.

Particularly if Reading start with a flat back four, the movement of Maghoma and Gallagher along with the runs of Bramall and Nsue/Jenkinson will be sure to give them a headache.

It’s just a case of whether Blues can get into a smooth rhythm in this system and come out all guns blazing.

I’m not convinced that we have a midfielder that can dictate the play at present – hopefully that will change if we can get a deal to sign Afriyie Acquah over the line.

But what we will have that we didn’t previously is options on the ball. Far too often we look static but this new approach should give the players more freedom and hopefully we can go out and take three points tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter: @luke96turner

 
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