The prestigious competition that is the FA Cup has once again come round and is always a date to mark off on the calender. Reading have always cherished the FA Cup under Brian McDermott, having made the quarter finals two times in the past three years. League One opposition Crawley are certainly not going to be pushovers in this game, as they currently just sit outside of the play-off places in the third tier of English football. They also have former Royals boss Steve Coppell as Director of Football at the Broadfield Stadium, so he is likely to give Richie Barker a bit of background information ahead of Saturday’s encounter.
Crawley boss Richie Barker – ‘A few of our players came of age that night and having had a taste of it we will have an idea of what to expect. We had a game plan that night and it will be the same on Saturday. We will aim to still be in the tie after an hour and go from there. Steve [Coppell] will have his usual input. I’m sure it will be quite a strange occasion for him but he is looking forward to the game as we all are.’
Reading manager Brian McDermott – ‘We’ve always taken the FA Cup very seriously – and this is a tough game for us. We know what we’re up against, it’s going to be a full house I’m sure, a small ground – and a good atmosphere. It was a low point losing to Stevenage in the third round last year. We lost the game at home and it was a nothing performance from us on the day, really disappointing and Stevenage came and did a job on us and got a result. We knew that wasn’t going to be easy on the day and we know this is the same.’
Crawley Team News:
Crawley are set to be without central defender Kyle McFadzean, who is suffering with a virus. Fellow defender Claude Davis will be given a late fitness test, after recently struggling with a knee injury.
Player to watch: Billy Clarke
The former Blackpool forward is currently the Red Devils’ top scorer and is likely to be a handful for the Royals defence tomorrow. Quick little player, who has a very good left-foot on him.
Reading Team News:
Reading striker Jason Roberts has returned to training this week, but is unlikely to be involved in this game. New signing Daniel Carrico is not set to play a part in this fixture, due to him struggling with match fitness. The likes of Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak are set to be rested.
Player to watch: Jay Tabb
The tenacious midfielder has been dropped from the side in recent games, meaning he will want to prove a point to McDermott. Tabb is also out of contract at the end of the season, so will want to earn himself a new deal at the Madejski Stadium.
First round: Met Police 1 – 2 Crawley
Second round: Crawley 3 – 0 Chelmsford
The referee for this game will be Anthony Taylor.
This is going to very tough game, Crawley have already given Swansea a fright earlier in the season in the Capital One Cup. Brian has always maintained his view on playing a strong team in this competition, but it seems he may make a few changes. Because of this, I can see it returning to the Mad Stad.
Vital Reading prediction: Crawley 1 – 1 Reading
Crawley – Tranmere (A)- Sat 12th January – nPower League One
Reading> – West Brom (H) – Sat 12th January – Barclays Premier League