Date:Friday January 10 2014
Saturday 11th January 2014
After a break from the league last week in the FA Cup, despite a very similar result, we return to the league campaign as we face Watford. Our reverse fixture with the Hornets this season at the Madejski Stadium was probably our best performance of the season, despite the game ending 3-3. Watford now have a change of manager, but have improved vastly defensively.
Reading manager Nigel Adkins - 'We didn't have the greatest Christmas period, there's 22 games to go, a great challenge and we're still bang on for a play-off position at the end of the season. We wanted to be in a position where we could win it, and I still want that, but we have to be realistic as well. It's not beyond us, we need to win the majority of our games if we're to win the League, and the top teams would have to lose a hell of a lot of games, so like I say we need to be realistic.'
Watford will give late fitness tests to both Daniel Pudil and Fernando Forestieri, while Scotland international Ikechi Anya is a major doubt for the game. Defenders Tommie Hoban, Reece Brown and Essaid Belkalem are all out.
The former Forest midfielder is the creative spark in the Watford side and possesses fantastic dead ball ability. McGugan already has six goals this season and will want to up his assist rate to supply Watford's impressive forward players in Deeney and Forestieri.
Reading will have an extra defensive option for this game, as Michael Hector has returned from his loan spell at Aberdeen. The attacking duo of Nick Blackman and Jobi McAnuff are set to be fit, but Hal Robson-Kanu is still another week away from returning. Defenders Sean Morrison and Wayne Bridge are definitely out, while Jem Karacan, Mikele Leigertwood and Jason Roberts are all long-term absentees. Midfielder Chris Baird is nearing a return, but is still a few weeks away.
The Royals skipper returns to his old stomping ground, where going by previous encounters, isn't highly fought of. Jobi is yet to score against Watford since leaving and will want to prove a point to those fans who seem to take joy in jeering him.
Watford - 3-5-2: Almunia (capt); Doyley, Angella, Ekstrand; Cassetti, McGugan, Iriney, Murray, Bellerin; Deeney, Fabbrini.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Cummings, Guthrie, Williams, McCleary, Drenthe, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Defensively we haven't been awful in this run, but we really can't seem to score goals. Watford has improved massively in terms of their defence with the appointment of their new manager, so I can't see us scoring. In terms of us conceding, considering Watford's prowess going forward, I can't see us keeping a clean sheet.
Vital Reading prediction: Watford 2 - 0 Reading
Watford - Bristol City (H) - Tues 14th January - FA Cup Third Round replay
Reading - Bolton (H) - Sat 18th January - SkyBet Championship
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Date:Friday January 10 2014
Key man watch: Shaun Maloney (Friday April 18 2014)
Forgotten man on verge of Royals exit (Friday April 18 2014)
The Opposition View - Wigan (Thursday April 17 2014)
Team news: Wigan vs Reading (Thursday April 17 2014)
Midfielder frustrated with red return (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Player Ratings - Leicester (H) (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Royals back in play-offs with Foxes point (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Stats: Reading v Leicester (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Adkins satisfied with crucial point (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Reading 1 - 1 Leicester (Monday April 14 2014)
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