This is really a nothing game for both sides, with Reading’s relegation fate sealed last weekend against QPR and Fulham appearing to be heading to a comfortable mid-table finish. The reverse fixture at the Madejski Stadium was a fascinating 3-3 draw, a result which I certainly can’t see a repeat of this afternoon!
Fulham boss Martin Jol – ‘If you want to perform well and get some more points to finish on a good note, of course you need results. We were unlucky a couple of times, for example with Arsenal and the sending off after 12 minutes and maybe in the Newcastle game we could have had a bit more. Chelsea was probably our best match but they scored out of nothing with that shot and two set-pieces, so we should do better. If we had done better we probably would have taken another three or four points.’
Reading manager Nigel Adkins – ‘The mentality is that we’ve got to go away to Fulham. Can we build on the clean sheets that we’ve had? And more importantly, can we get a win?Anyone who knows me will tell you I want to win every game of football that we play in. The players have worked hard on the training ground, we’ve got over last week and there’s a hunger and desire to keep improving. We’ve got three games left in this campaign and we’ve got to do everything we can to give ourselves an opportunity to get that winning feeling again.’
Fulham Team News:
Fulham will welcome back key striker Dimitar Berbatov for this fixture, after missing the Everton game with a calf injury. Former Royals player Steve Sidwell is serving a suspension, while forward Milan Petric is missing with a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov
A brilliant player to make in his own weird and wonderful way. Berbatov probably has the technical ability to play for some of the best teams in the world, but prides himself on his approach to the game. Given space and time, he will cause damage, as he proved at the Madejski this campaign.
Reading Team News:
Reading could include midfielder Hope Akpan in the squad, after he returned to full training this week. However, Jimmy Kebe will miss out again with a calf problem, as will Jason Roberts, who is a long-term absentee.
Player to watch: Pavel Pogrebnyak
The Russian striker appears to be enjoying life under Adkins more than McDermott, despite not getting on the scoresheet for the new boss. The Pog has admitted he wants to stay in England after the season ends, so will want to impress potential suitors and his former side, who will probably be interested.
Reading – 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Morrison, Mariappa, Kelly, Karacan, Guthrie, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, McCleary, Pogrebnyak
Fulham – 4-4-1-1: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise, Karagounis, Enoh, Emanuelson, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov
The referee for this game will be Neil Swarbrick.
Both managers could chop and change it for this game, but will still want to win. Our away form has been rubbish this campaign and I don’t expect it to change here.
Vital Reading prediction: Fulham 2 – 0 Reading
Fulham – Liverpool (H) – Sunday 12th May – Premier League
Reading – Man City (H) – Tuesday 14th May – Premier League