Reading - Fulham Preview: McDermott looks to kick-start the season on home soil
The Royals are still looking to register their first win of the campaign but face stern competition for the spoils from Martin Jol's side, who sit two points off the top four
By James Vause
Cummings, Mariappa, Gorkss, Shorey
Kebe, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff
Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise
Duff, Ruiz, Sidwell, Richardson
With Brian McDermott in desperate need of the three points, this game could see the home side adopt a system with two strikers rather than the 4-5-1 tactic they employed against Liverpool last week.
Adam Le Fondre might well be the man chosen to partner Pavel Pogrebnyak up front, with Jem Karacan sidelined due to a serious knee injury he picked up against Liverpool.
Noel Hunt picked up a knock ahead of the Royals' clash with Liverpool and will be assessed again ahead of this one.
Martin Jol has almost a full complement of players to choose from and the big changes are expected in the middle of the park where midfield duo Damien Duff and Bryan Ruiz are set to be welcomed back from injury.
Simon Davies (hip) is the Cottagers' only major concern, and will definitely not feature at the Madejski Stadium.
After a clean sheet last time out against Aston Villa, Fulham are set to remain unchanged at the back but striker Mladen Petric could be sacrificed for an extra man in midfield away from home.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Danny Murphy's 76th minute equaliser against Portsmouth on the last day of the 2007-08 campaign not only ensured Fulham's survival but also effectively relegated Reading from the Premier League that year
- Pavel Pogrebnyak (pictured right) scored six goals in 12 appearances for the Cottagers last season and had the option to remain at Craven Cottage this year but eventually opted for a move to the Madjeski stadium
- Pogrebnyak has an impressive strike rate in the Premier League, scoring a total of eight goals from just 11 shots on target
- Fulham have conceded six goals from set-pieces this season, that's more than any other team in the league
- These sides have been almost impossible to separate in the past, each winning two of the last four encounters with the number of yellow cards received each (five) also distributed evenly.
- There has never been a penalty scored whenever these two teams have met in the Premier League.
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Top 3 Predictions
Reading 1-2 Fulham
- 24.86 %
Reading 0-2 Fulham
- 13.3 %
Reading 1-3 Fulham
- 9.83 %
|Premier League (EPL)||4 May 2013||Fulham 2 - Reading 4|
|Premier League (EPL)||27 Oct 2012||Reading 3 - Fulham 3|
|7 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Bournemouth 2||ENG2|
|3 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Charlton Athletic 0||ENG2|
|29 Nov 2013||Nottingham Forest 2 - Reading 3||ENG2|
|23 Nov 2013||Blackburn Rovers 0 - Reading 0||ENG2|
|9 Nov 2013||Reading 1 - QPR 1||ENG2|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The Russian striker has four goals to his name already this season and could well come back to haunt his old club. Despite being a former fans favourite at Craven Cottage there's unlikely to be any love loss on Saturday as the 28-year-old will be doing his utmost give Brede Hangeland a tough time at the back for Fulham.
|John Arne Riise|
Following an impressive display against Villa last week, the Norwegian full-back will once again be looking to get forward at every possible opportunity. With Jimmy Kebe likely to be pushing forward for the home side, Riise has more than enough energy to see to his defensive duties whilst also providing a vital outlet for his team on the counter attack.
The attacking options available to Martin Jol mean his side are unlikely to be outscored by a team languishing at the bottom of the table, despite their notoriously poor away form. Reading's desperation to haul themselves out of the drop zone, however, should see them pick up at least a point.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed