Date:Saturday December 28 2013
Sunday 29th December 2013
Both teams a few months ago were witnessing different fortunes, at different ends of the table. However, two consecutive losses for Reading and two consecutive wins for Middlesbrough mean that there is likely to be a difference in confidence coming into this one. Nigel Adkins will want to our end our current poor run of results and performances.
Boro manager Aitor Karanka - 'Winning two games in a row is very important. The players were doing very, very well before but now, with the results, everything is easier and we have confidence for the next game at home in front of our people, against Reading on Sunday. When you win you can enjoy your job. If we'd lost against Burnley it would be difficult to prepare for the next game. Now we need to keep working in this way and adding points.'
Reading skipper Jobi McAnuff - 'It's obviously a disappointing sequence for us. But within all those games there's been positives we can take. Of course there have also been negatives so we'll pick the bones out of them. I thought we could take a lot form the last two second halves. We've shown that when we're at it we're as good as, if not better, than anyone. So we'll take a bit of heart from that.'
Boro will give late fitness tests to Frasier Richardson and Mustapha Carayol, who have been carrying injuries through the week. First choice goalkeeper Jason Steele is also injured for this game, while striker Kei Kamara is a long-term injury problem.
The winger was a reported long-term target for Reading, but after a move failed to materialise, opted to join Boro in the summer. He is Boro's top scorer this season with eight goals and has found the net against Reading already this season, in a pre-season friendly with Bristol City.
Jordan Obita and Garath McCleary both had illness bugs for the Leicester game, but should be OK for this one. Adkins however will still not be able to choose from Chris Baird, despite the midfielder returning to training last week. Defenders Sean Morrison and Wayne Bridge are still a while away from returning to training, while Mikele Leigertwood, Jem Karacan and Jason Roberts are all long-term absentees.
The American international hasn't had the same impact before his two-month lay off and hasn't really made a massive impact in decent games. He possesses great energy in midfield, but needs to show it against a side who are going to want to dominate possession.
Middlesbrough - 4-2-3-1: Given, Varga, Woodgate, Ayala, Friend, Whitehead, Smallwood, Adomah, Emnes, Ledesma, Jutkiewicz
Reading - 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Kelly, McCleary, Williams, Guthrie, Obita, Pogrebnyak, Sharp
A month or two ago, you would have expected an away win. However, recent results would probably head towards a home win, but we all know how unpredictable this league is. We need to improve our first half performances drastically if we want to get back on a winning track. I can see a dull game with both sides trying to keep the ball, but with not much penetration.
Vital Reading prediction: Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Reading
Middlesbrough - Bolton (A) - Wed 1st January 2014 - SkyBet Championship
Reading - Nottingham Forest (H) - Wed 1st January 2014 - SkyBet Championship
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Date:Saturday December 28 2013
Brighton 1 - 1 Reading (Saturday March 8 2014)
Key man watch: Leonardo Ulloa (Saturday March 8 2014)
Vital poll result: Fans want Drenthe to start (Saturday March 8 2014)
Brighton (A) Match Preview (Friday March 7 2014)
The Opposition View - Brighton (Friday March 7 2014)
Team news: Brighton vs Reading (Friday March 7 2014)
Royals international round-up (Thursday March 6 2014)
Drenthe speaks out on team omission (Thursday March 6 2014)
Seven first teamers away on international duty (Wednesday March 5 2014)
Kuhl delighted with Anfield victory (Wednesday March 5 2014)
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