Writer: Royal D
Date:Thursday January 15 2009
17th Jan 2009
Swansea City entertain Reading this weekend in the Coca Cola Championship as they look to break thier record of home draws which streches back two months. Swansea currently lie 10th in the league with only one loss at the Liberty Stadium, coming at the hands of promotion chasing Birmingham City. The Royals will be looking for their 6th away win of the season as they aim to keep up the pressure on Wolves at the top of the Championship table. Earlier on in the season, the Royals handed Swansea a 4-0 drubbing at the Madjeski Stadium with the Irish connection of the Hunt brothers and Doyle (2) all scoring against the Swans.
Swansea have certainly proved their metal in the Championship after promotion from League one last season and Swans boss Martinez has gained plaudits from Royals boss Steve Coppell.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Swans winger Tom Butler said 'We were overawed by the occasion at Reading,'
'That that day was humiliating for us and this is a chance to put things right.'
Martinez added: 'That was a huge lesson because teams like Reading will punish you if they get a chance.
'Reading will be our toughest test because overall they are the best side in the division.
'They have Premier League players with huge experience and they didn't deserve to get relegated last season.
'And their manager Steve Coppell, I believe, is someone special in that football club.
'They have reacted well from getting relegated and are ready to bounce back. For us, the game will show how much we're learning in this division.'
Irish winger Butler added: 'They are my favourite to win automatic promotion.'
Reading Keeper Adam Federici admitted that this will be a big test for the Royals. Speaking on the RFC website he said ' I remember playing them in the cup last season and they gave us a really hard game. They move the ball round really well'
Reading boss Coppell has great admiration for opposite number Martinez and has praised the Swans style of play. "Swansea have a style that is very pleasing on the eye, they can pass the ball very well and they`ve been a really healthy addition to the Championship"
Swansea City will be missing inspirational midfielder Leon Britton as he serves a one match suspension after picking up his 5th booking of the season against Burnley
Owain Tudur Jones is set to replace Britton in the midfield however Fede Bessone, Ferrie Bodde and Marcos Painter are all out with injuries.
The Trinidadian international footballer signed for Swansea in May 2007 for a bargain £25,000. He has a respectable 11 goals to his name this season and will certainly be looking to add to that tally. Scotland scored on his Swansea debut as he helped them to promotion into the Championship with 29 goals.
Reading defender Andre Bikey has a slight ankle problem but misses the game anyway as he serves a one match suspension for picking up his 5th booking of the season against Cardiff City in the FA Cup.
Adam Federici continues in goal as Marcus Hahnemann recovers from a calf injury picked up at home against Blackpool.
Stephen Hunt has been a driving force in the Royals team this season with 8 goals coming from left midfield, but even this is below par for him as he recently admitted he had set himself a target of 10 before Christmas. Hunt was recently named the Championship player of the month for December, beating Swansea`s Jason Scotland to the gong. Hunt has also been subject of a lot of transfer speculation so far in January with Spurs reportedly joining the Hunt (sorry) for his services.
Last Season League (N/A)
Last Season Cup 0-0
Referee: F GRAHAM (Essex) Assistants: K Johnson and W Barratt Fourth Official: A P Bennett Profile from the Refworld website Number of seasons (including this season) as a Football League referee: 4 This season: 42 yellow cards and 0 red cards from 17 games Last season: 42 yellow cards and 2 red cards from 31 games Previous RFC games: None
Swansea have a joint record amount of successive draws in the Championship but I think the game will have goals with the Royals just sneaking it with a 2-1 win (S Hunt & K Doyle)
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Date:Thursday January 15 2009
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