Reading - Wigan Preview: Royals face lacklustre Latics in battle to avoid relegation
Brian McDermott's men are unbeaten in their last six home matches ahead of Saturday's clash at the bottom, while Roberto Martinez's team are yet to win a league game in 2013
By Arthur Virgo
Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Kebe, Akpan, Leigertwood, Guthrie, McAnuff
Scharner, Caldwell, Figueroa
Stam, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour
Maloney, Kone, Di Santo
Reading have few new injury doubts to add to long-term casualties Alex McCarthy (shoulder) and Jason Roberts (hip), and therefore Brian McDermott could bring back many of his regular starting XI after rotating his squad for Monday’s FA Cup defeat.
Mikele Leigertwood (knock) and Jimmy Kebe (knock) are both doubts, so Danny Guthrie and Garath McCleary could compete for any remaining places behind lone striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, with top-scorer Adam Le Fondre likely to appear from the bench again.
Wigan’s newly re-signed Paul Scharner could continue in a three-man defence, with Antolin Alcaraz still short of match fitness following long-term injury and Ivan Ramis (knee) out for the season. Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) is doubtful so Ronnie Stam could continue on the right flank.
Arouna Kone's two goals against Huddersfield in his first start since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations could win him a place, with Roger Espinoza in line to make way.
Elsewhere Albert Crusat (knee) and Ben Watson (shin) are not ready, while Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) faces a late test, but Jordi Gomez, who scored a hat-trick against the Royals earlier in the season could feature.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Successive away defeats to Stoke and Manchester United ended Reading's six-match unbeaten run, and leaves them in the relegation zone one point from safety.
- McDermott’s side have attempted the fewest shots (235) and managed the fewest on target (85) in the Premier League this season, while facing the most shots (436) and allowing the most on target (150).
- The Royals have won five and lost none of their last seven home matches against Saturday's opponents, and are unbeaten in their last six matches at the Madejski Stadium.
- The hosts' striker Jason Roberts won promotion to the Premier League with Wigan in 2005 before moving to Blackburn in 2006, where he scored in each of the three matches against the Latics in which he played at least 30 minutes.
- Roberto Martinez's men lie two points below the Royals in 19th, with just one win in their last 13 league games and none in the league this calendar year, conceding at least two goals in each of their last four Premier league games.
- The visiting side have scored in each of their last nine away games, and are the only Premier League outfit this season to have gathered more points away (11) than they have taken at home (10).
- The reverse fixture this season in November however saw Jordi Gomez (pictured, above) completed his hat-trick with a late winning goal as the Latics won 3-2 at the DW Stadium.
- Reading have scored at least once in the last 15 minutes of each of their last five league games, with 42% of their Premier League goals this season arriving in that period, while similarly Wigan have scored 70% of their goals in the second half.
- Saturday’s referee Phil Dowd took charge of Wigan’s memorable 1-0 victory last season over the then reigning champions Manchester United, the second in a series of four successive home wins that ensured their Premier League survival.
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Top 3 Predictions
Reading 0-0 Wigan Athletic
- 14.55 %
Reading 2-1 Wigan Athletic
- 10.91 %
Reading 1-1 Wigan Athletic
- 9.7 %
|England - Championship (ENG2)||18 Apr 2014||Wigan Athletic 3 - Reading 0|
|England - Championship (ENG2)||21 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Wigan Athletic 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Feb 2013||Reading 0 - Wigan Athletic 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Nov 2012||Wigan Athletic 3 - Reading 2|
|18 Apr 2014||Wigan Athletic 3 - Reading 0||ENG2|
|14 Apr 2014||Reading 1 - Leicester City 1||ENG2|
|8 Apr 2014||Bournemouth 3 - Reading 1||ENG2|
|5 Apr 2014||Charlton Athletic 0 - Reading 1||ENG2|
|29 Mar 2014||Reading 1 - Huddersfield Town 1||ENG2|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
|26||Ali Al Habsi||Goalkeeper|
|9||Franco Di Santo||Striker|
The skilful attacker has started each of the Royals’ 26 league games so far this season, and demonstrated his versatility of late when deployed in an advanced midfield role away from his usual position on the left flank. Whether he plays in the middle or on the flank, the club captain’s passing ability and dribbling skill are key to his side’s chances.
The Latics’ top-scorer has netted six league goals this season and bagged two against Huddersfield last Sunday in his first start since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast. Wigan have missed his pace, power and finishing ability which could be crucial in Saturday’s big clash at the bottom.
The Royals have been in good form lately, particularly at home, and after a difficult adjustment to the Premier League McDermott's side look set to continue a spirited fight against relegation. The Latics have been given a boost by their 4-1 win in the FA Cup, though, and the return of key players could see them match their opponents at the Madejski Stadium in this six-point encounter.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed