Reading - West Ham Preview: Struggling Royals face injury-ravaged Hammers

The relegation-threatened side look to build on their point against Swansea but they come up against a team fresh from a Boxing Day break, albeit one still hampered by injuries


Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Karacan, Leigertwood

Kebe, Guthrie, McAnuff

Tomkins, Collins, Reid, O'Brien
O'Neil, Noble
Taylor, Nolan, Jarvis

Brian McDermott looks set to persist with the same side that earned a hard-fought goalless draw against Swansea on Boxing Day, though Adam Le Fondre could replace Pavel Pogrebnyak after impressing in that game.

Also vying for contention up front is Jason Roberts, as the veteran striker looks as though he could return from a hip injury in time to feature in Saturday's clash.

Sean Morrison (ankle), however, is not as lucky as he remains sidelined, meaning that Alex Pearce and Adrian Mariappa will continue to marshall proceedings from the Royals' central defence.

Danny Guthrie's disciplinary problems look to be resolved as he prepares to start his second consecutive game; his refusal to travel to the Sunderland defeat earlier this month seemingly put in the past.

Sam Allardyce's side, meanwhile, continue to contend with a variety of injuries as Yossi Benayoun (knee), Andy Carroll (knee), Mohamed Diame (hamstring), George McCartney (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) all remain sidelined by injury.

The Hammers have, however, received a timely boost with the unexpected availability of Carlton Cole; his three-match suspension from the red card given in the Everton game having been lifted after West Ham's appeal proved successful.

Right-back Guy Demel could also return to action after recovering from illness, though he looks more likely to be given a place on the substitute's bench as Allardyce looks set to retain faith in the side that succumbed to a 2-1 home defeat against Everton.

  • Reading have won five of the past seven encounters between these two sides, having done the double over West Ham in the Championship last season.
  • The hosts have won just one of their last 12 Premier League games at the Madejski Stadium; they have drawn six of them and lost the other five.
  • Reading have conceded more goals from crosses than any other side in the Premier League this season (11).
  • In fact, the Royals have conceded more goals than any other Premier League team this season (37).
  • All nine of Carlton Cole's (pictured right) league goals in 2012 have come at Upton Park; he has yet to score an away league goal this year.
  • West Ham have picked up more cards than any other Premier League side this season (37 yellows and one red).
  • The Hammers have scored only five away goals this season; the fewest of any side in the Premier League.
  • The last time West Ham conceded six or more goals in a top flight game was away to Reading on New Year's Day 2007.