Middlesbrough (A) Match Preview
Saturday 30th August 2014
A midweek victory in the cup over Scunthorpe will give a good confidence boost to a heavily injury hit Royals squad, who come into this game with Middlesbrough off the back of two league defeats. Boro have had a mixed start to the season themselves, winning two and losing two.
Reading boss Nigel Adkins - 'They're having a go with their recruitment. They want to have a go, they've spent a bit of money. They've got a squad of players and they will be expecting to win the game. It'll be a tough game, the third travelling game in a week but everyone's going up there to work extremely hard to get something from the game.'
Boro head coach Aitor Karanka - 'We have to repeat the example that we set when we played them here last year. I think that was the most comfortable game for me last season, but then they beat us easily when we played them away, so it will be a very difficult and important game. We`re higher in the table than Reading at the moment so people may think we`re favourites or that it will be an easier game but that is not the case."
Middlesbrough Team News:
Boro will still be without winger Mustapha Carayol through injury, but defender Ben Gibson could return to make his first appearance this season. New signing Ryan Fredricks is likely to take up a place on the bench, after signing from Spurs in the week.
Player to watch: Patrick Bamford
The young forward signed on loan from Chelsea earlier today and is believed to have signed on time to be available for tomorrow's game. With competition bound to be high with Kike, the prolific striker will want to prove a point on his debut.
Reading Team News:
Our injury list is getting worse by the week, but a few faces could return for the game at the Riverside tomorrow. Late fitness tests will be given to the trio of Pavel Pogrebnyak, Michael Hector and Jordan Obita, but the latter is most likely to miss out.
Nigel Adkins was coy on whether Danny Guthrie would return from a calf problem and while he could make the bench, he will not start. Fellow central midfielders Danny Williams and Jem Karacan are still over a month away from returning to playing action.
Defender Anton Ferdinand is still not fit enough to play, having played just 30 minutes of football in the last year. Stephen Kelly and Hal Robson-Kanu are still not ready to return, while Garath McCleary and Aaron Tshibola are long-term absentees.
To round it all off, we had two further injury blows to deal with after the victory against Scunthorpe on Tuesday. Shaun Cummings and Nick Blackman both suffered knee injuries and could be out for several weeks, but a scan will reveal more in the coming days.
Player to watch: Oliver Norwood
Like Bamford, a player who will want to prove a point after recently signing from Huddersfield. He has come with a reputation of being a good passing midfielder, so he will want to prove himself to the manager that he can do just that.
Middlesbrough - 4-2-3-1: Mejias, Abella, Ayala, Omeruo, Friend, Leadbitter, Clayton, Adoma, Tomlin, Reach, Kike.
Reading - 4-3-3: Federici; Long, Pearce, Cooper, Gunter; Akpan, Norwood, Kuhl; Mackie, Taylor, Cox.
The man in the middle will be Darren Bond, who will be officiating his first Reading game. A possible good omen would be that on his last trip to the Riverside, Millwall beat Boro 2-1 that day - maybe clutching at straws there!
This has to just be a write off for us, as our injury list is beyond ridiculous and we can't expect a large number of youth players to match the standards of this league. The international break has come at a good time, but we are unlikely to come away from this game with anything.
Vital Reading prediction: Middlesbrough 2 - 0 Reading
Middlesbrough - Huddersfield (A) - Saturday 13th September - SkyBet Championship
Reading - Fulham (H) - Saturday 13th September - SkyBet Championship