Date:Friday January 3 2014
Saturday 4th January 2014
After a rather disappointing run in the league recently, an FA Cup game is a nice distraction, albeit quite a boring draw for both sides. Brighton's form in the league has picked up in a recent weeks, just sitting below the play-off places in seventh place. Our game in the Championship this season finished 0-0 at the Madejski Stadium - I think both teams wouldn't want a repeat of that scoreline and a replay!
Reading manager Nigel Adkins - 'We want a good cup run, we want to do well in the FA Cup. I will put out the strongest possible team, it's not a game to be resting people. To be fair we're not in a position to do that anyway! We've been decimated through injuries, we had ten players out who conceivably could be starting games but the way we kept going against Forest shows the group are pulling for each other. On top of that we had a couple of players come through fitness tests on the morning of the game.'
Late fitness tests will be given to both Gordon Greer and Andrea Orlandi, to whether they can start the fixture. However, Oscar Garcia will definitely be without defender Bruno and former Watford winger Will Buckley.
I remember when we played Brighton back in the 2011/12 season and this lad was a massive handful. A winger who is capable of playing on either side, with great pace and a desire to take players on, he could prove a big handful to Cummings or Gunter.
Nigel Adkins has said he will play a full strength side, but with a growing list of injuries, he really doesn't have a choice! He is however boosted by the return of defender Kaspars Gorkss, who has returned from suspension. Jordan Obita could return from illness, while Chris Baird is nearing a return, but will not be considered for this game. Wingers Jobi McAnuff and Hal Robson-Kanu are also both out, but could be back for next week's game. Striker Billy Sharp has returned to Southampton following the end of his loan spell, but a permanent deal could be sorted within the next week. Defenders Sean Morrison and Wayne Bridge, while Mikele Leigertwood, Jem Karacan and Jason Roberts are all long-term absentees.
With Billy Sharp returning to Southampton for the time being and a minor injury crisis, Alfie could be getting his chance to start and prove the manager what he is worth. If he is not that keen on impressing Adkins, I'm sure he will be wanting to impress other potential managers interested in his services over the next month.
Brighton - 4-3-3: Brezovan, Calderon, Greer, Upson, Chicksen, Andrews, Agustien, Crofts, Lopez, Lua Lua, Barnes
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Cummings, Guthrie, Williams, McCleary, Drenthe, Blackman, Pogrebnyak
The referee for this one is the experienced Chris Foy.
This is a tough one to call, especially as Oscar Garcia hasn't clarified whether he will play his strongest side. Form would predict a home win, but because it's a cup game, the form guide can be ignored sometimes. Despite this, I'm going to sit on the fence and predict a replay.
Vital Reading prediction: Brighton 1 - 1 Reading
Brighton - Birmingham (H) - Sat 11th January - SkyBet Championship
Reading - Watford (A) - Sat 11th January - SkyBet Championship
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Date:Friday January 3 2014
Another player set for injury lay-off (Wednesday July 23 2014)
The Championship 2014/15 - Blackpool (Wednesday July 23 2014)
Former Royals striker retires (Tuesday July 22 2014)
The Championship 2014/15 - Blackburn (Tuesday July 22 2014)
The Championship 2014/15 - Birmingham (Monday July 21 2014)
Adkins gives Yeovil assessment (Sunday July 20 2014)
New club captain announced (Sunday July 20 2014)
Royals draw in second friendly (Saturday July 19 2014)
Potential loan targets - Wingers (Saturday July 19 2014)
Vital poll result: Royston Drenthe (Friday July 18 2014)
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