Reading Preview - Home, April 24th
ANOTHER season comes to an end at the Vic` on Saturday as Reading provide the final home opposition of the season before the Goldenboys head to Coventry City on final day, hoping that their Championship status is already safely secured.
Rewind a few months and we`d all have been looking forward to the return of public enemy no.1, Brendan Rodgers - as things have turned out the Ulsterman was ousted at the back end of last year and his replacement, Brian McDermott has driven the side up the table in spectacular fashion. To the point in fact that the Royals were in with a slim chance of nabbing a Play Off spot until Tuesday night`s draw at Scunthorpe.
Last Time Out: Scunthorpe 2-2 Reading
wo goals in the last eight minutes from the home side put paid to Reading`s slim Play Off hopes after the visitors took a two-goal lead at Glanford Park. Goals from centre-halve Alex Pearce and midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson netting from the spot looked to have secured all three for McDermott`s men but goals from Gary Hooper and Matt Sparrow earned a precious point for Nigel Adkins relegation battlers.
b>Starting XI: Federici; Griffin, Pearce, Khizanishvilli, Bertrand; Tabb, Sigurdsson, Howard, McAnuff; Kebe; Church.
b>Hotshot: Gylfi Sigurdsson - 30 League Starts + 6 Sub Appearances (15 Goals)
Reading Team News:
he Royals are without four players thanks to relatively long-term injuries; left-back Chris Armstrong is currently sidelined with a knee problem whilst Irish cap Noel Hunt also has a knee problem which means his season is over. Captain Ivar Ingirmarsson is sidelined thanks to a hamstring issue whilst Czech Republic midfielder Marek Matejovsky is also out following stomach surgery.
Full-back Andy Griffin and Georgian centre-half Zurab Khizanishvilli are both almost on 'trial` in effect, after it was confirmed by Royals management the loan duo were both wanted back at the Mad Stad next term, if possible.
Key Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson
celandic international Gyfli Sigurdsson has been a massive hit at the Majdeski Stadium in this, his breakthrough campaign. Having spent last season on loan at League Two sides Shrewsbury Town and Crewe Alexandra, as well as making a couple of Carling Cup appearances for the Berkshire outfit.
A massive 15 goals in his first 30 league starts as a Royal is a superb return from the 21 year-old, Reykjavik born playmaker. Slotting into a five man midfield for much of the season, Sigurdsson has featured for the Iceland U17, U18, U19 and U21 sides to date, scoring 13 in 26 appearances for his nation.
It was Sigurdsson who scored the goal to take Liverpool to a replay at the Majdeski back in January. Following the Royals 1-1 tie at Anfield, last seasons Premier League runners up were beaten in the resulting replay.
Last Time Out: QPR 1-0 Watford
espite a much improved second half showing Watford continued their dismal away form with this close lose at the hand of Neil Warnock`s R`s. Rangers took the lead in a dour first half through an Akos Buszaky penalty. The halftime introduction of Marvin Sordell nearly inspired a Watford leveler when Danny Graham finished before being ruled offside from the youngster`s pass.
b>Starting XI:Loach; Mariappa, Bennett, Taylor, Doyley; McGinn, Jenkins, Eustace (c), Harley; Lansbury and Graham.
Watford Team News:
ith Sunderland youngster Ryan Noble requesting to return to his parent club, boss Malky Mackay may be tempted to start with the impressive Sordell, recently returned from his own loan spell at Tranmere. Winger Michael Bryan also featured against his former club on Tuesday and despite impressing looks set for a place amongst the subs, especially if Don Cowie returns. Also missing the trip to West London was skipper Jay DeMerit who could be taking his final bow at the Vic` if he fails to agree new terms. Heidar Helguson is back after being ineligible to feature at the Loft.
Key Player: Henri Lansbury
lthough behind the front man is not the Arsenal loanee`s favoured position, the onus will be on Lansbury to perform to his creative best on Saturday with Tom Cleverley long since departed for treatment at Manchester United.
The 19 year-old Arsenal Academy product has featured on 34 occasions in the famous Yellow shirt this term, scoring four times including a sublime brace at home to Sheffield Wednesday back in October. With his future on the line at the Emirates, Lansbury put pen-to-paper on a new deal with the Gunners on December 31st before extending his loan until the end of the current campaign.
atford-supporting bias and Reading`s irrelevant final couple of games this season suggests we can grab a point on Saturday. If the Royals play to their destructive best - the kind of form that saw them run in six against Peterborough on Saturday it could be a nervy ninety with results elsewhere so key to the 'Orns survival.