Reading Preview - Away, September 10
IT'S BACK to league football once more with the international break a dim and distant memory for our international Hornet's as attentions turn to a trip to the Madejeski Stadium.
Host's Reading haven't been in fine form themselves and after five games sit just two places above Sean Dyche's men in 20th.
After the heartbreak of Play-off Final defeat at the hands of Swansea in May, it was always going to be a hard job for Brian McDermott to lift his troops for a new assault on the Championship but the Royals will draw heart from the parallels between this campaign and last.
It took McDermott's side four league ties to register their first win last term and even then it was a bumpy ride before their form clicked at the right time, culminating in a Play-off position.
The transfer window was equally hard on Reading as it was the Hornet's with arguably their two best players moving onto pastures new. Shane Long joined West Brom in a £4.5m deal, whilst skipper Matt Mills moved to Sven Goran Eriksson's all-star Leicester City side in a deal worth around £5m.
A slow transfer window saw McDermott replace Mills with Spurs centre-back Bongani Khumalo on loan, whilst utility man Mikele Leigertwood made his loan spell from Queens Park Rangers permanent.
The close of the transfer window brought Rotherham hot-shot Adam Le Fondre to Berkshire in exchange for approximately £350k and former Hoops centre-half, Kaspars Gorkss. Joseph Mills also arrived late doors on a free transfer from new-boys Southampton.
With astute captures completed with a blend of youngsters with something to prove and experienced second-tier campaigners, the Royals look good value to return to loftier heights sooner rather than later.
Watford could be ready to welcome back Scottish striker Chris Iwelumo whilst new-boy Joe Garner looks set to be involved somewhere.
Reading also look likely to include striker Adam Le Fondre for the first time since his move from Rotherham.
Reading: Federici; Griffin, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte; McAnuff (c), Leigertwood, Karacan, Kebe; Robson-Kanu; Hunt.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Yeates, Eustace (c), Hogg, Forsyth; Sordell and Weimann.
Match Officials: (R) M J Linington (AR's) Mr L Betts & Mr A Laver (4th) Mr J Farries.