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Team news: Rovers v Reading

Aynsley Pears makes his debut for the club, whilst Corry Evans returns in place of Bradley Johnson against the Royals

27 October 2020

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Aynsley Pears is in for his debut in one of two changes made by Tony Mowbray for this evening's clash against table-topping Reading at Ewood Park

Pears, a summer arrival from Middlesbrough on transfer deadline day, makes his bow for the club, with a minor groin strain keeping Thomas Kaminski out of action for the hosts.

Mowbray admitted that the Belgian stopper, who has clean sheets in four of his seven league games this term, would be a doubt for the contest, and the 28-year-old hasn't recovered in time to feature.

Elsewhere, Bradley Johnson misses out and is replaced by the returning Corry Evans in central midfield.

Kaminski's injury and Pears' spot in the starting XI means Antonis Stergiakis takes his place on the bench, as the Greek did against Nottingham Forest in our last home encounter 10 days ago.

As well as Pears, there are also home debuts for Barry Douglas, Tom Trybull and Harvey Elliott, with the trio coming through the weekend win over Coventry City unscathed.

There is also a milestone for Douglas, who appears in a league game for the 300th time in his career.

For tonight's visitors, under the management of Veljko Paunovic, Lucas Joao starts as he looks to continue his hot streak in front of goal.

The Portuguese frontman, who scored three goals in 13 outings for Rovers in the second half of the 2016-17 campaign, comes into this evening's game with seven goals in seven games in all competitions.

Joao is one of two alterations made by Paunovic from the side that started the win over Rotherham United at the weekend, with the 27-year-old replacing the benched George Puscas.

The other change sees Michael Olise return in place of Ovie Ejaria, with the former Liverpool man not included in the matchday squad.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm tonight, and fans can catch all the action by purchasing a match pass or by following the coverage across our social media channels.

Rovers: Pears, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (c), Williams, Douglas, Trybull, Holtby, Evans, Elliott, Armstrong, Brereton.

Substitutes: Stergiakis, Nyambe, Gallagher, Davenport, Buckley, Wharton, Dolan.

Reading: Rafael, Esteves, Richards, Morrison, Moore (c), Olise, Rinomhota, Meite, Joao, Laurent, Semedo.

Substitutes: Walker, McIntyre, Gibson, Aluko, Tetek, Watson, Puscas

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