Burton Albion will hope for the early Christmas present of back-to-back Championship wins when they face Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

The Brewers - who won at relegation rivals Bolton Wanderers last weekend - are yet to secure successive League victories this season, and the Royals will be looking to make sure that run continues.

Jaap Stam's side were beaten in the play-off final back in May and have struggled to rediscover last season's consistency so far this campaign.

Ahead of Saturday's clash, we spoke to GetReading.co.uk's Jonathan Low about slow starts, injury issues and who Albion fans should look out for.


Reading were without striker Yann Kermorgant for the early stages of the season
Reading were without striker Yann Kermorgant for the early stages of the season

Having seen their team's Premier League dreams end in penalty-shootout agony at Wembley, Reading supporters will have been hopeful of another campaign near the top end of the Championship table this time around.

But a sluggish start saw them sitting much further down the division.

Following a 2-1 home loss to Norwich City on September 30, they lay 20th, level on nine points with the Brewers.

Their consistency has begun to return since though, with only one loss in their last six outings.

So did the fabled 'play-off hangover' have anything to do with the Royals' slow start?

"I think that was a very small part, and clearly it gave them a little less time to rest and recuperate after a long and arduous season," said Low.

"It's an easy conclusion to make, but it was more to do with injuries to key players and new ones coming in and taking time to bed in.

Jaap Stam watches on as his Reading side lose 2-0 at Ipswich Town

"Last year's top scorer Yann Kermorgant picked up an injury in pre-season which caused him to miss the first 15 games of the campaign.

"He was a big loss, not just for his goals, but also his presence in attack and defence.

"Left-back Jordan Obita picked up a serious knee injury which has forced him to miss the rest of the campaign, and niggly injuries have also led to inconsistency in team selection and performances.

"Royals brought in seven players over the summer and it took a while for a few of them to get going."


Joe Garner nods Ipswich Town two goals up at home to Reading

Reading's last two games have been polar opposites of each other.

A fortnight ago, Stam's side cruised into control at home to high-flying Cardiff City, with Callum Paterson's own goal and a fine Mo Barrow strike giving them a 2-0 lead at the break.

Two goals in the final 10 minutes saw the game finish 2-2, though, as a couple of points were dropped.

And salt was then rubbed into that wound next time out at Ipswich Town, where the Royals conceded twice in the opening half-hour to lose 2-0.

Can Albion fans expect to see the hosts fly out of the blocks this weekend, then, as they seek to recover from those setbacks?

"I hope so! It's what Stam talks about all the time and what he wants from his team, but he doesn't always get it," added Low.

Reading manager Jaap Stam

"If they start like they did at Ipswich last weekend, they'll have no chance.

"When the Royals do get on the front foot, they are more than a match for anyone in the league, and if they score first, they usually pick up a positive result.

"They'll play it out from the back and pass it between themselves at all costs - it only needs one mistake for opponents to pounce.

"But if they do get it right and get confidence back, then they can be difficult to stop."


Mo Barrow celebrates putting Reading 2-0 up in the 2-2 draw with Cardiff City

"Mo Barrow - he's the top scorer with six goals and has electric pace,” said Low.

"His end product can be a bit suspect, but he is not afraid to run at and take on defenders.

"He's a very skilful player too and can use both feet.

"Barrow, primarily a left-winger, has proved to be one of the best signings of the summer."


Reading's John Swift celebrates scoring against Nottingham Forest

Midfielders Garath McCleary and George Evans are back in training following groin and thigh injuries respectively and could yet make the bench on Saturday.

Sam Smith (knee) is a couple of weeks away from returning, but John Swift could make an unlikely comeback this weekend.

Callum Harriott (hamstring), Joseph Mendes (knee) and Stephen Quinn (knee) are out long term.