Reading Preview - Away, Feb 19th
IT`S ANOTHER clash with a side near to the Hornets in the table this weekend as Watford travel up the road to Berkshire to take on Brian McDermott`s Reading.
The Royals, with a game in hand on the Goldeboys are still chasing the Play-Offs and sit just a point and a place behind Watford in what should be a tough game.
Manager Brian McDermott has had a successful start to his managerial career, dragging Reading away from the relegation zone last season after Brendan Rodgers` poor start to the campaign.
This season was always going to be about improvement with 15 games to go Reading are in with a decent shout of sneaking into the Play Offs after a season plagued with inconsistency, much like the Hornets.
McDermott has made very few additions to the squad since taking over, left-back Ian Harte an impressive capture who has chipped in with his share of goals since arriving for a nominal fee from Carlisle United.
The loss of winger-cum-forward Noel Hunt seemed likely until recently, however the Eire cap rejected a move to SPL giants Celtic and promptly signed a new contract at the Mad Stad.
Reading Team News: Former Hornet`s winger Jobi McAnuff recently returned from injury and should start.
Scottish youth cap Alex Pearce is out with a thigh problem and so veteran Icelander Ivar Ingirmarsson partners Matt Mills at the back.
Wing-back Shaun Cummings is out but wouldn`t have been involved anyway.
Line-up Vs. Sheffield United: Federici; Griffin, Ingirmarsson, Mills (c), Harte; Kebe, Gunnarsson, Howard, Tabb; McAnuff; Long.
Ex-Hornets: Brynjar Gunnarsson spent just one season (04/05) at Vicarage Road but made a favourable impression after joining on a free from Stoke City. The all-action Icelandic cap joined the Royals for 100k under Steve Coppell and despite playing less frequently these days remains and important part of the squad.Hornets Career: 34 + 2 (3 Goals).
Jobi McAnuff, despite not always showing the same workrate, effort and passion as those around him is your typical mercurial winger. On his day unplayable, the Jamaican-born wideman left the club last Summer for 500k with his contract up in 12 months. Pacey and direct, McAnuff has also turned out for Crystal Palace, Wimbledon, CardiffCity and West Ham United.Watford Career: 70+14 (5 Goals)
Home Form: Reading 4-1 Bristol City, Reading 2-1 Burnley and Reading 1-1 Hull City.
Head2Head Form: Reading 4-0 Watford (08/09), Reading 1-1 Watford, Watford 3-0 Reading (09/10) and Watford 1-1 Reading (10/11).
Watford Team News: Matty Whichelow could be in line for a start after an impressive sub appearance in the PNE draw.
Andy Weimann is in direct competition with Marvin Sordell for a place up top alongside Danny Graham.
Don Cowie and Matty Whichelow will battle it out for a place down the flank after Cowie returned against PNE.
Likely Line-up: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Taylor, Doyley; Eustace (c); Buckley, McGinn, Cowie; Weimann and Graham.
Away Form: Scunthorpe United 1-2 Watford, Cardiff Ctiy 4-2 Watford and Nottingham Forest 1-0 Watford.
Match Officials Referee: Mr P WALTON, Assistants: Mr M Cairns and Mr A Newbold, Fourth Official: MR G Scott
Match Odds: Reading 19/10 (Bet365) Draw 13/5 (Victor Chandler) Watford 10/3 (Victor Chandler)