Writer: Chris Kitley
Date:Friday January 18 2008
The Madejski Stadium
Reading host the champions Manchester United, just a week after the Reds' six nil demolition of Newcastle.
The Royals are still looking for their first win of the new year and with just two points between them and the relegation zone, boss Steve Coppell will be praying for an upset.
Coppell will take heart in the fact that the two sides have drawn three of their last five meetings, although Reading have never beaten United.
Royals' boss Steve Coppell on the match;
'It is different, a totally different atmosphere and feeling. This is the ultimate test.
'Their team is so good and they rotate so much. There's no real pattern to their front four'.
United veteran Ryan Giggs on Reading;
'Reading are a team that won't just sit back and defend. They will go out and try to score goals so hopefully it will be an open game.'
The main decision for Steve Coppell will be who will partner Ivar Ingimarsson at centre back. Youngster Alex Pearce started the cup game against Spurs, but his inexperience could see him step aside, with Brynjar Gunnarsson the most likely replacement.
Michael Duberry is out with a knee injury, while Ibrahima Sonko, Andre Bikey and Emerse Fae are all on African Cup of Nations duty.
Dave Kitson, who was sent off at Old Trafford, could be out with a knee injury, if he is not fit to play, Leroy Lita may get a rare start alongside Kevin Doyle.
The Irishman seems to be getting better with every game and his energy and workrate will be vital if Reading are to get anything out of the game.
United have no fresh injury problems and could play the same team that started against Newcastle.
Wes Brown is available after suspension and could feature.
Ronaldo is currently the best player in the Premier League, if not the world and he will be a big test for the shaky Reading defence.
Reading have conceded 47 goals this season (36 more than United); United have scored 44 goals this season (14 more than the Royals).
United are the Premier League's most dangerous club in the last 10 minutes scoring 11 goals; Reading on the other hand are the most vulnerable, conceding 11 goals in the last ten minutes.
Although Reading have never beaten United, they are the only team to get a point at Old Trafford this season.
Steve Bennett (Orpington, Kent)
This is one of the fixtures that I dread, especially as we are only two points above the relegation zone. Saying that, we have a good record against United, even if we haven't beaten them, and there's every chance we could sneak a surprise draw. My Prediction; Reading 2-2 Man Utd
Chelsea (a) 30/01/08
Bolton (h) 02/02/08
Date:Friday January 18 2008
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Reading take on Wimbledon in penultimate Pre-season (Friday July 22 2016)
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