The 2018-19 Championship kicks off on Friday evening, with Frank Lampard’s Derby travelling to the Madejski Stadium
Reading and Derby County open the 2018-19 Championship season with a highly-anticipated encounter at the Madejski Stadium on Friday evening.
Both sides come into the tie with different managers from the start of last season, with former Chelsea colleagues Paul Clement and Frank Lampard to go head-to-head in search of an opening-day victory.
Ahead of the meeting, Goal takes a look at everything you need to know.
|Game||Reading vs Derby County|
|Date||Friday, August 3|
|Time||8:00pm BST / 3pm ET|
In the United States (US) the game can be watched live on TV on ESPN+ and streamed on the WatchESPN app.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Sky Sports Football or Sky Sports Main Event and streamed on the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Main Event||SkyGo|
|Goalkeepers||Mannone, Walker, Jaakkola|
|Defenders||Gunter, Yiadom, O’Shea, McShane, Moore, Obita, McCleary, Ilori, Blackett, Richards,|
|Midfielders||Bacuna, Meyler, Swift, Harriott, Edwards, Méïte, Clement, Popa, Rinomhota, Kelly|
|Forwards||Aluko, Barrow, Daði Böðvarsson, McNulty, Baldock|
Brighton target Liam Moore will play no part of the fixture after handing in a transfer request, leaving the Royals short in defence.
Chris Gunter will miss out due to injury and Tyler Blackett is suspended, while at the other end Clement will decide whether Marc McNulty, Daði Böðvarsson or new signing Sam Baldock will lead the line.
Potential Reading XI: Mannone; Yiadom, Ilori, McShane, Richards; Aluko, Meyler, Kelly, Barrow, Swift; McNulty
|Goalkeepers||Carson, Roos, Mitchell|
|Defenders||Wisdom, Forsyth, Keogh, Pearce, Olsson, Davies, Bogle, Lowe|
|Midfielders||Wilson, Mount, Lawrence, Jozefzoon, Johnson, Evans, Butterfield, Hanson, Anya, Thorne, Ledley, Thomas, Huddlestone, Bryson|
|Forwards||Marriott, Martin, Bennett, Blackman, Vydra, Nugent, Jerome|
Lampard has a host of attacking options to choose from, though David Nugent looks set to get the nod ahead of new arrival Jack Marriott.
Mason Mount has joined the club on a season-long loan and will start in a midfield three alongside Joe Ledley and Craig Bryson.
Potential Derby XI: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Lowe; Ledley, Bryson, Mount; Wilson, Lawrence, Nugent
Derby are slight favourites to win the game, with dabblebet pricing the Rams at 11/8, while Friday’s hosts are 11/5 to start the season with a win. A draw is also placed at 11/5.
Click here to see all of dabblebet’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
The Friday night clash will be billed as a managerial battle between Lampard and Clement, two young coaches with new ideas going into their first full seasons in charge of their clubs.
Clement took control of Reading in March following the dismissal of Jaap Stam, guiding his inherited side to a lowly 20th position in the Championship table.
The former Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Chelsea assistant spent time working with Lampard while the midfielder was playing at Stamford Bridge and will welcome the challenge he now presents as an opposing manager.
Despite the 2018-19 season being Lampard’s first as a manager, his Derby team go into the new campaign as one of the favourites to win promotion back to the Premier League, though the 40-year-old has stressed that he is focused only on Friday’s trip to Berkshire.
“It’s a difficult question,” Lampard told Sky Sports when asked of his season ambitions. “Of course, promotion is the target, every club in the Championship has the same target. But we will go step-by-step.
“We want to maximise everything out of the team. The simple is: we want to finish as high as we can, we want to get promoted, because this is a Premier League club. We must start with those intentions, the players know that.
“We all want it together here, the staff, the whole building, want to get this club into the Premier League.”
Clement, who spent a short time in charge of Derby during 2015-16, is pleased with the club’s pre-season preparations despite not picking up a single win and is eager to get the new season up and running.
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“Everyone is really looking forward to getting started now, we’ve done a full six-week pre-season which included six competitive friendlies,” he said.
“We’ve played high level opposition, the games were really challenging, loads of sessions on the pitch, a lot of running, team meetings and video work. Now it is time to get going and every game we play now there is a lot at stake.
“Everyone wants to do really well in the first game, we’re up for it, we’re focused and we’re ready.”
Friday evening’s fixture kicks off the first weekend of domestic football in England, with the majority of Championship clubs playing their first game a day later on Saturday August 4.