After a dramatic improvement in their Premier League form, Reading return to FA Cup action to face League One outfit Sheffield United, in the fourth round tie of the prestigious competition. Brian McDermott’s men defeated Crawley in the third round 3-2, while Danny Wilson’s side beat rivals Oxford 3-0. It will also see the return of former striker Dave Kitson and (for those who can remember him) left back, Marcus Williams.
Reading manager Brian McDermott on Dave Kitson – ‘Dave Kitson’s a friend of mine who I speak to regularly, and he tells me what a great place it is to be at. The supporters are passionate and they want to get back into at least the Championship. He’ll be a threat on Saturday, absolutely. If you talk about what a bargain he was for us at the time. We sold him to Stoke for a lot of money, so he was great value for us. I’m sure he’ll get a decent ovation from our fans.’
Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson – ‘We expect ourselves to go and give a good account of ourselves. I don’t know if we will be good enough on the day to win but it is a fantastic opportunity. We believe we can win the game, of course we do, but there has to be realism to that expectation. We are going to go to the Madejski and have a really good crack at Reading, we will give it everything.’
Reading Team News:
Brian McDermott will once again be without striker Jason Roberts, who is suffering with a hip problem. Midfielder Jem Karacan and Hal Robson-Kanu should have recovered from knocks. New signing Hope Akpan is cup-tied and therefore unavailable.
Player to watch: Daniel Carrico
The Portugese midfielder is likely to start this game and will want to prove a point to the Royals fans, after a less than impressive debut. Carrico was more than likely lacking match fitness, but will probably be in better shape for this encounter.
Sheffield United Team News:
Defender Neil Collins and goalkeeper Mark Howard are both highly doubtful for this game, after both have just recently returned to training. While Shaun Miller is also out, striker Chris Porter could be fit for this weekend.
Player to watch: Dave Kitson
The former Royals striker is likely to get a fantastic reception when he returns on Saturday and deservedly so. Despite dropping down to League One, he is still a notable threat.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Harte, McCleary, Carrico, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Le Fondre
Sheff Utd: Long, Westlake, Higginbotham, Maguire, McMahon, Doyle (C), Macdonald, Blackman, Flynn, Murphy, Kitson.
It will be a tough game, despite the Blades not being on best of form in the league. Brian usually plays a strong side for the cup, with the odd changes and I would expect the same policy that should see us through to the next round.
Vital Reading prediction: Reading 2 – 0 Sheff Utd
Reading – Chelsea (H) – Wednesday 30th January – Premier League
Sheff Utd – Coventry (H) – Friday 1st February – League One