With the Royals in the midst of a six-game losing streak, the newly-appointed boss is in dire need of all three points to add vitality to the hosts' decaying survival hopes
Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Guthrie, Leigertwood, Karacan
Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak, McAnuff
Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw
Puncheon, Cork, Schneiderlin, Davis
Reading are likely to welcome back Adam Federici from an ankle injury, but the clash comes too soon for Jimmy Kebe, who misses out with a groin strain.
Jason Roberts remains out for the season after undergoing surgery on a hip complaint last month.
Contrary to their opponents, Southampton arrive at the Madejski Stadium largely in rude health.
However, Mauro Pochettino will be forced to sweat on the fitness of key playmaker Adam Lallana (groin) and defender Danny Fox (hip) but will most likely welcome back Artur Boruc, who has been training since Monday after being withdrawn against Chelsea due to a virus.
Gaston Ramirez was an unused substitute last time out after a late arrival back from international duty, but is expected to return to contention on Saturday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Only Wigan (32) have shipped more goals at home this season than Reading (29).
- No side have faced more shots at goal in the top five European Leagues this season than the Royals.
- The Royals have conceded the first goal on 19 occasions this season; more than any other team.
- Southampton have taken just two points from bottom half opposition, since Pochettino’s arrival, despite claiming 11 from teams in the top half, including wins against Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
- Only three players in the top five European leagues have fashioned as many goalscoring chances from open play as Rickie Lambert (pictured right) this season, who is also the Premier League's leading English goalscorer with 14.
- Southampton have failed to return from their travels with a win under Pochettino, with their last away victory coming, ironically, during Adkins' penultimate game at the helm against Aston Villa.