Thank goodness the international break is over, it always seems to drag doesn’t it? We return to league action, as we look to get the final crucial points to distance ourselves from the relegation dogfight. Cardiff, like ourselves, have been suffering from inconsistency this season.
Cardiff manager Russell Slade – ‘Reading have been similar to ourselves in that they`ve had an element of inconsistency. They started off quite well, but then their current form is won two, drawn two and lost two. Obviously they knocked us out of the FA Cup, and have had a terrific run in that competition. We know that they can be strong, resilient, and at the same time, capable of scoring goals. They have a big squad to choose from, so it`s very difficult to know who they`re going to go with.Our form away from home has been very good recently though, and we`d like to keep that going.’
Reading Team News:
On loan midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is a doubt with a foot injury once again, while Danny Williams is suspended. However, new loan signing Nathan Ake should start in his place. Left-back Jure Travner has recently had a minor groin operation and will miss out.
As expected, defender Anton Ferdinand is still out, despite playing a reserve game last week. Forward Simon Cox is a doubt, while Palace forward Kwesi Appiah is likely to make his debut from the bench. Yakubu should be fit, but Stephen Kelly is still out.
Player to watch: Nathan Ake
The Chelsea loanee is likely to make his first start for the Royals, as he will fill the midfield role left by the injured Nathaniel Chalobah. Despite being on the fringes of Chelsea’s first team, it is his first loan move away, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the Championship.
Cardiff Team News:
Cardiff have a few injury problems of their own. Defender Ben Turner has made a quick recovery from a recent injury to be in contention for the match day squad. Forward Joe Mason could also return, after recovering from a hamstring injury suffered at Bolton.
Right-back Lee Peltier should be fit to start again, but central midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is lacking the match fitness to play. The forward duo of Alex Revell and Federico Macheda have had recent knocks, but both have trained recently should be fit to play a part.
Player to watch: Sean Morrison
The central defender will return to the Madejski Stadium for the first time, since his summer move to the Bluebirds. Morrison has became a regular at the back for Cardiff, but will be given a tough test by Pog up top, as well as Mackie playing off him.
Reading – 4-4-1-1: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Obita; McCleary, Ake, Norwood, Robson-Kanu; Mackie; Pogrebnyak.
The man in the middle will be Scott Duncan, who is taking charge of his first Reading game. He has previously officiated Cardiff, earlier this season in October, as they were beaten 1-0 at Millwall.
Cardiff have nothing to play for, and we are slightly in the same boat, despite being just a few places above the relegation zone. Cardiff have picked up some good results away from home, so we will need to be wary, but I think the points will be shared.
Vital Reading prediction: Reading 1 – 1 Cardiff
Reading – Blackpool (A) – Tues 7th April – SkyBet Championship
Cardiff – Bolton (H) – Mon 6th April – SkyBet Championship