After one of the most thrilling comebacks in Premier League history, Reading return to reality as they face another tricky trip on the road to face Newcastle. The Magpies, under the stewardship of former Royals boss Alan Pardew, have notably underperformed so far this season and have only won once in the last seven games. Saying this, Reading, similarly to Newcastle, are the only sides yet to pick up an away victory this campaign.
Newcastle manager Alan Padrew – ‘It’s an important game for us and Reading. People talk about six-pointers and all that – it actually is between us two clubs. We can’t hide from that. We need to get that distance between us and then strengthen, and then suddenly we would look a lot rosier than we do sitting here today. I think momentum’s very important – that’s a strong tool to have in the Premier League. You believe you’re going to win.’
Reading boss Brian McDermott – ‘Alan has done wonders there, there`s no doubt about that – he was manager of the year last season. We all have difficult times in football, that`s the nature of what we do for a living. Newcastle is a big club, they`ve got good players – but my concern is our team and our club. I`ve never been there as a player, never been there as a manager, never been there as a scout – so I`m looking forward to going up there. I know the atmosphere is fantastic there and the ground itself is fantastic.”
Newcastle Team News:
Magpies defender Steven Taylor could be welcomed back for this game, after recovering from a long-term hamstring problem. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye is set to make his first start for the club in over a month, while forward Shola Ameobi will return from suspension.
Player to watch: Yohan Cabaye
It probably isn’t any coincidence that Newcastle’s recent dip in form has come alongside the absence of the influential Frenchman. A superb asset in the centre midfield for Newcastle and can dictate the game with his great range of passing.
Reading Team News:
Reading striker Jason Roberts has suffered a set back in his comeback from a hip problem, meaning he could be a long-term injury absence. However, Mikele Leigertwood should be fit to return, as should winger Hal Robson-Kanu. New signing Stephen Kelly is likely to make his Reading debut at right back.
Player to watch: Danny Guthrie
The former Newcastle man speaks fondly of his old side in the north east and admits he hopes the fans understand his desire to leave for first team football. He didn’t feature very regularly under Pardew, but would maybe want to prove a point to his former manager.
Reading 2 – 2 Newcastle
Kebe (58), Hunt (62) Ba (59, 83)
The referee for this game will be Andre Marriner, who refereed the reverse fixture back at the Madejski Stadium. The referee was brought into the spotlight with this game too, as Demba Ba appeared to punch the ball in for his side’s equaliser back in September.
Some are being slightly more optimistic for this away trip, with Newcastle struggling for form in recent months. However, they will see this a good chance to get some points on the board, with our away form not particularly inspiring. I can see a share of the points again.
Vital Reading prediction: Newcastle 1 – Reading 1
Newcastle – Aston Villa (A) – Tuesday 29th January – Premier League
Reading – Sheff Utd (H) – Saturday 26th January – FA Cup Fourth Round