Reading - West Brom Preview: The Royals hope to continue their encouraging home form
Brian McDermott's side have looked a lot more solid since losing 5-2 against Arsenal in mid-December, and will be hoping to build on four points from their last two home games
By Al Hain-Cole
Gunter, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte
Kebe, Karacan, Leigertwood, McCleary
Jones, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell
Fortune, Morrison, Odemwingie
Mikele Leigertwood faces a late fitness test after sitting out Saturday's FA Cup win at Crawley with a knock, Jay Tabb will keep his place in the side should he fail to make the grade.
Adam Le Fondre scored twice in West Sussex, but may drop to the bench as Brian McDermott reverts to the 4-5-1 system that has served his side well recently in the Premier League.
Hal Robson-Kanu is also a doubt, while Jason Roberts (hip) and Alex McCarthy (shoulder) are long-term absentees.
Zoltan Gera will miss the rest of the season for West Brom after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligaments against QPR in the cup.
Jonas Olsson (groin), Steven Reid (calf) and Goran Popov (hamstring) remain sidelined in defence, so Billy Jones, Gabriel Tamas and Steven Ridgewell will continue at the back.
Shane Long may get the chance to face his former club in the place of Romelu Lukaku up front, after getting on the scoresheet at Loftus Road.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Reading have won one and lost eight of their last 10 Premier League matches, but only Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal have been victorious at the Madejski Stadium this season.
- Meanwhile, West Brom have lost five and won just two of their last eight in the league.
- The Royals have conceded 12 goals in the closing quarter of an hour this season - more than any other side.
- Brian McDermott's men have also dropped the most points from winning positions in the top flight, letting 20 slip through their grasp.
- The Baggies' 33 points from 21 games is 11 more than they have ever previously recorded at this point in a Premier League season.
- The last time that the visitors managed to keep a clean sheet away from home was 13 games ago, when manager Steve Clarke was assistant to Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish in the opposition dugout.
- If selected, Shane Long (pictured, right) will make his first appearance at the Madejski Stadium since leaving Reading in a club record £6.5 million move 18 months ago.
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Top 3 Predictions
Reading 1-2 West Bromwich Albion
- 13.43 %
Reading 1-3 West Bromwich Albion
- 11.19 %
Reading 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 10.45 %
|Premier League (EPL)||12 Jan 2013||Reading 3 - West Bromwich Albion 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Sep 2012||West Bromwich Albion 1 - Reading 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||8 Jan 2011||Reading 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||24 Feb 2010||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Reading 3|
|FA Cup (FA)||13 Feb 2010||Reading 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2|
|19 May 2013||West Ham 4 - Reading 2||EPL|
|14 May 2013||Reading 0 - Manchester City 2||EPL|
|4 May 2013||Fulham 2 - Reading 4||EPL|
|28 Apr 2013||Reading 0 - QPR 0||EPL|
|20 Apr 2013||Norwich City 2 - Reading 1||EPL|
|Returns:||Reading £410.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £70.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||West Brom £70.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
|30||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
|11||Yassine El Ghanassy||Striker|
The Russian striker rejected Fulham to join Reading on a generous contract in the summer, and his form recently has hinted that he may yet prove value for money. The former Zenit St Petersburg man grabbed the winner against West Ham in the Royals' last home game, and struck again to give his side an early lead against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. A third goal in three would be very welcome for Brian McDermott's side, who will view this as an eminently winnable encounter.
Eyebrows were raised when Roy Hodgson brought in a 31-year-old centre-back with no top-flight experience on a free transfer from Ipswich two summers ago, but McAuley took to the Premier League like a duck to water and has been instrumental in tightening up the Baggies defence. With three of the regular back four missing for the trip to the Madejski, McAuley will be expected to take responsibility for keeping the rear guard in check.
Reading have picked up four points from their last two home games, and will have taken confidence from their 3-1 win at the weekend, regardless of the opposition. The in-form Pogrebnyak should be able to take advantage of the visitors' patched up backline, so all three points are well within reach for the Royals.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed