The table that shows the size of task facing Stoke City and Michael O’Neill


If Stoke City’s post-Christmas form has been remarkable, then this weekend’s opponents Reading aren’t too far behind.

In the 14 games played since December 25, the Potters have picked up 24 points, with only two teams picking up more.

That run of form has seen Michael O’Neill’s side move from the bottom of the table, to a more respectable 17th spot.

Next up, it’s Reading at the Madejski Stadium and another team that have enjoyed a good surge following the festive period.

With 22 points from their games post-Christmas, they are the 7th best team in the Championship. However, unlike Stoke, who have enjoyed a renaissance in front of their own fans, the Royals have picked up an impressive four wins on the road, with just a pair of victories coming at home.

The Championship table post-Christmas.

It promises to be a real test of Stoke’s improved mettle, but will face Mark Bowen’s men full of confidence.

Although their overall form looks impressive, it has been feast or famine for Reading.

Three straight wins after Christmas, were followed by seven games without a win, a period that saw them slide down the table. However, in recent weeks they have regained their feet, winning three out of the last five.

Very few sides will fancy facing the Royals, fortunately, even fewer would want to be coming up against the Potters.





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