Mad, mad world at the Madejski

Orlando Sa joined Reading for �1m 'this summer from Polish club Legia Warsaw and has scored five goals
Orlando Sa joined Reading for �1m 'this summer from Polish club Legia Warsaw and has scored five goals
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson thinks that the form of Reading, the visitors to Deepdale on Saturday, shows what an unpredictable division the Championship is.

It was not too long ago that a run of six victories in seven games carried the Berkshire club to second place in the table.

Everything looked good at the Madejski Stadium – however, things have gone wrong in the meantime.

They are on a run of one win in eight matches, the home defeat to Queens Park Rangers last week being followed by the sack for manager Steve Clarke.

Results aside, Clarke had not exactly helped his cause by asking permission to speak to Fulham about their head coach vacancy.

The Scotsman did not take the Fulham job after talks but was on rocky ground with Reading from then on.

All week, Grayson has been wondering who will be stood along the touchline from him in the away technical area.

It looks like being caretaker boss Martin Kuhl, although Brian McDermott was strongly tipped for a return during the week.

Grayson has put to one side the guessing game over who will manage Reading.

He is getting good at that, having been in a similar situation ahead of the games against QPR, Blackburn and Fulham in recent weeks.

Both QPR and Fulham had caretakers in charge for their games against PNE, while Blackburn appointed Paul Lambert in the days leading up to their visit to Deepdale.

Casting his eye over Reading, Grayson said: “We know that they have a lot of good players and it was probably only six weeks or so ago that they were second in the division after a great run.

“They have lost their way a little bit of late and that is the Championship for you.

“A few wins can quickly take you up the table but a couple of defeats can drag you back down.

“In every game we play, we respect our opponents but it is about what we do.

“This is the fourth game out of the last five that we have faced a club who have changed manager.

“We just put that to the back of our thoughts and prepare as we would normally do.

“We’ll analyse what they have done over the last few weeks and go from there.”

Reading, currently 11th in the table, are among the pack of former Premier League clubs trying to regain their top-flight status.

Hence the axe falling on Clarke, with the pressure set to be on his replacement to get back up the table

The Royals will look to Nick Blackman for goals, the striker having been in good form earlier in the campaign.

Between August 24 and October 20, he scored 10 goals in 11 games.

Bury-born Blackman started his career at Macclesfield before moving to Blackburn.

He had loan spells with Blackpool, Oldham, Motherwell and Aberdeen, before joining Sheffield United.

It was from United that Reading signed him for £1.2m in January 2013.

Alongside him up front will be Orlando Sa.

The Portuguese striker has scored five goals since a summer move from Legia Warsaw.