West Ham - Reading Preview: Hammers looking to finish the season in style
Sam Allardyce’s side have enjoyed a solid season back in the top-flight and will be hoping to take three points from their final match of the campaign against the relegated Royals
By Shane Farrington
Demel, Collins, Reid, O’Brien
J. Cole, Nolan, Jarvis
Gunter, Morrison, Mariappa, Kelly
Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff
McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Robson-Kanu
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has a strong squad to choose from for his side’s final match of the season and there are unlikely to be too many changes from the team which lost 2-0 against Everton, though James Tomkins (calf/shin) and George McCartney (knee) will miss the match.
Joe Cole came off the bench against the Toffees and could be poised to be given a place in the starting line-up. Andy Carroll is again set to lead the line his final match for the club before his loan spell from Liverpool ends.
As for the visitors, Reading boss Nigel Adkins could name an unchanged side from the starting XI which lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Tuesday. Adam Federici (ankle) is a doubt, so Alex McCarthy is expected to continue in goal, while Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jason Roberts (hip) are both sidelined.
Striking duo Nick Blackman and Adam Le Fondre both came off the bench against City and are pushing for starting berths, although they are likely to have to once again settle for a place on the substitutes bench.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Despite currently sitting in tenth spot in the league, West Ham can still finish as low as 15th if they fail to beat the Royals and the teams below them all win.
- Kevin Nolan (pictured right), and Andy Carroll are the Hammers leading goalscorers so far this season with 7 goals each.
- Reading won the earlier meeting between the two sides in the Premier League, with Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring the only goal of the game - the Russian is 8/1 with bet365 to open the scoring on Sunday.
- The Royals have the second-worst defensive record in the league. They have conceded 69 goals so far, only fellow relegated side Wigan (71) have conceded more.
- Nigel Adkins side have only won one of their last 12 league matches - a 4-2 win away to Fulham. They have drawn two and loss the other nine games.
- Adam Le Fondre is Reading’s topscorer so far this season after netting 13 goals in all competitions. Those goals have come from 14 starts and 22 substitute appearances.
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Top 3 Predictions
West Ham 2-0 Reading
- 18.54 %
West Ham 3-1 Reading
- 10.67 %
West Ham 3-0 Reading
- 10.11 %
|Premier League (EPL)||19 May 2013||West Ham 4 - Reading 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||29 Dec 2012||Reading 1 - West Ham 0|
|England - Championship (ENG2)||10 Dec 2011||Reading 3 - West Ham 0|
|15 Apr 2014||Arsenal FC 3 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|6 Apr 2014||West Ham 1 - Liverpool 2||EPL|
|31 Mar 2014||Sunderland 1 - West Ham 2||EPL|
|26 Mar 2014||West Ham 2 - Hull City 1||EPL|
|22 Mar 2014||West Ham 0 - Manchester United 2||EPL|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
The on-loan Liverpool striker could well be playing his final game for the Hammers, with Sam Allardyce admitting the club are likely to be priced out of making his move permanent. After initially struggling to get on the scoresheet, he has found some form towards the end of the season (bagging five goals in his last 10 games), prompting a recall to the England squad. He will be keen to fire his side to victory against an erratic Reading backline.
This match might be the ex-Fulham man’s last game for the Royals with a number of clubs set to be interested in buying him over the summer. He has had a hit-and-miss season at Reading, showing glimpses of his talent but ultimately failing to score enough goals to get his side enough points to stay in the top-flight. He will be hoping to end the season with a bang, though, and impress any potential suitors.
The hosts will be hoping to finish the season in style by taking all three points in front of their home crowd, while the match will be Reading's last in the Premier League this season following their relegation back to the Championship. West Ham should have too much power and threat for a porous Reading defence.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed