The Sky Blues take on league leaders Reading in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night. Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents.
Stadium: Madejski Stadium (first opened 1998)
Nickname: The Royals
Address: Madejski Stadium, Junction 11, M4, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 0FL
Pitch Size: 115 x 74 yards
Reading finished in 14th place in the Championship last season and appointed new manager Veljko Paunovic this summer as they attempt to climb up the table.
The Royals have a blend of youth and experience with Liam Moore and Michael Morrison forming a solid partnership at centre-back, Andy Rinomhota and Michael Olise providing creativity in midfield and Yakou Meite and George Puscas dangerous in attack.
Paunovic’s side have made a superb start to the season, sitting top of the table and remain undefeated in their opening eight league matches, conceding just three goals.
Veljko Paunovic was appointed as Reading manager this August, replacing Mark Bowen in the Madejski Stadium hotseat.
Paunovic enjoyed a distinguished playing career, featuring for both Partizan Belgrade and Atletico Madrid as well as representing his native Serbia and Montenegro at international level.
He began his coaching career with Serbia’s youth sides, managing the under-18’s, under-19’s and under-20’s, winning the under-20 World Cup with the latter in 2015, beating Brazil in the final.
His first club role was with Chicago Fire in November 2015 and spent four years with the Major League Soccer side, qualifying for the end of season playoffs in 2017 before departing in November 2019.
The Serb has made a good start to life in England, with his team looking solid in defence and scoring plenty of goals as he looks to take the Royals back to the Premier League this season.
With Reading, Paunovic has managed nine matches recording seven wins, one draw and one defeat.
Last Six Games
Won – Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Reading (Sky Bet Championship)
Won – Reading 3-0 Rotherham United (Sky Bet Championship)
Won – Reading 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers (Sky Bet Championship)
Drew – Middlesbrough 0-0 Reading (Sky Bet Championship)
Won – Reading 1-0 Watford (Sky Bet Championship)
Won – Cardiff City 1-2 Reading (Sky Bet Championship)
Last Time We Met
The two sides last met in February 2012 with the Sky Blues falling to a 2-0 defeat at the Madejski Stadium.
City created the game’s opening chance when Gary Deegan drilled an effort narrowly wide from 20-yards out.
Jimmy Kebe put the hosts in front on 25 minutes when his cross-shot looped over the helpless Joe Murphy and into the far corner of the goal.
Reading doubled their lead just before half-time when Ian Harte’s corner from the right was headed towards goal by Matthew Connolly and bundled over the line by Jason Roberts from close range.
The Sky Blues came close to pulling a goal back when Alex Nimely’s powerful shot on the turn and well-saved by Adam Federici in the Reading goal.
Federici then made another fine acrobatic save to tip Deegan’s long-range effort over the crossbar.
Sky Blues Wins – 18
Draws – 17
Reading Wins – 27
Scotland international Marc McNulty enjoyed a memorable season-long stay with the Sky Blues before being sold to Reading.
McNulty spent time in the academies of both Celtic and Hibernian before starting his professional career with Livingston.
The striker scored 48 goals in 122 appearances to help fire the Lions from the Scottish Third Division to the Scottish Championship in the space of five seasons, with his form earning him a move to then League One side Sheffield United.
He scored 13 goals in his first season with the Blades but was loaned to Portsmouth, then playing in League Two, for the 2015/16 season where he netted 10 times, and spent time on loan with Bradford City the following campaign.
The 28-year-old signed for the Sky Blues on a permanent basis in May 2017 and scored an impressive 28 goals in 51 appearances as City secured promotion to League One via the play-offs, with McNulty providing two assists in the final against Exeter City in a man of the match display.
His form for the Sky Blues saw him join Reading in July 2018 where he scored one goal before re-finding his best form on loan at Hibernian, scoring seven goals in just 15 league outings.
He began the 2019/20 season on loan at Sunderland before returning to Hibs for a second loan spell and is set to spend the current campaign at Dundee United.
Current Sky Blues assistant manager Adi Viveash enjoyed a two-year spell with the Royals as a player.
Viveash began his career with hometown club Swindon Town, spending a total of six years with the Robins, which included two loan spells at Reading, where he made 11 appearances, and a temporary switch to Barnsley.
He joined Walsall in 1995 and would go on to make over 200 appearances for the club, over a five-year period, before signing for Reading on a permanent basis in 2000.
The defender made a further 66 appearances in a Reading shirt, scoring three goals, and spent time on loan at Oxford United before returning home to Swindon for one season in 2003/04.
After a couple of short loan spells with Kidderminster Harriers, Viveash briefly played for Aldershot Town before finishing his career with Cirencester Town who he would later manager for a season in 2007/08.
He returned to coaching with Chelsea and was in charge of both the club’s under-18 and under-21 sides, guiding the Blues to two UEFA Youth League titles during a nine-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
The 51-year-old joined the Sky Blues coaching staff as assistant manager in July 2017 and alongside manager Mark Robins has helped guide the club to two promotions in the last three seasons.
David Webb will be the man in the middle on Friday night, taking charge of his eighth game of the 2020/21 season.
He last refereed the Sky Blues on Tuesday night, when City were beaten 2-0 at Middlesbrough.
This will be Webb’s 13th season as a Football League referee and he has officiated the Sky Blues on 12 occasions, with City winning five, drawing three and losing four of those matches.
So far, Webb has awarded 20 yellow cards and one red card across seven matches in the Carabao Cup, Championship and League One.
He will be assisted by Daniel Leach and Matthew Jones with Oliver Langford acting as fourth official.