After three successive defeats, it is back to the drawing board for Reading, as they prepare to face Southampton in a relegation six-pointer at St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. The Royals put in a brave display against Manchester United last week, but will still be dissapointed as they lost the lead on two occasions. Nigel Adkins side went down 1-0 to Liverpool, but portrayed plenty of spirit in that game, as they have undergone a recent resurgence in previous games. The result is bound to be crucial for both teams.
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins – ‘We have got to win our home games – I have said from the start of the campaign that the home form is important. We will take one game at a time, but the next two games that are coming up are ones against teams that are very close to us in the division. They are games that we have got to go and win. First and foremost we will concentrate on our performance, if we get that right then we will have an opportunity to win.’
Reading manager Brian McDermott – “This is where you earn your money. This is where you find out about the people around you. Believe it or not, I`m relishing this situation. Will I say I`m having a great time? No, but I`m relishing it. It`s an experience that I`ve not really had because we`ve had nothing but success. Is this success for Reading what we`re doing now? I don`t know – that would be an argument that you could discuss. Being who we are, how much we`ve spent and where we`ve come? Is this success? For me it`s not, because we want to win games at whatever level we`re playing at and that`s what we`re trying to do.’
Southampton Team News:
The Saints are set to have summer signing Gaston Ramirez available, after being allowed compassionate leave back to his native country of Uruguay. Defender Frazer Richardson is a long-term injury, while Richard Chaplow should be fit to return.
Player to watch: Adam Lalana
The 24-year old has fantastic talent and has proven he is capable of playing in the Premier League. Was called up to the England squad a few months ago and is likely to cause the Royals backline some problems.
Reading Team News:
Reading are set to be without striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who picked up an injury in midweek during a reserve counter. However, Danny Guthrie is set to be fit after picking up a knock in the same game. Winger Jimmy Kebe is still unavailable for selection.
Player to watch: Nicky Shorey
The former England international was praised by Sir Alex Ferguson last week and his set pieces are hopefully going to cause our opponents some problems.
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Ramirez, Cork, Lallana, Puncheon, Lambert
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Robson-Kanu, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Le Fondre, Roberts
The referee for this game will be Jonathan Moss.
There is no doubting it will be tough if they play how they did against Newcastle. However, I think the players should know what’s at stake to try and get something from the game.
Vital Reading prediction: 2-2 draw.
Southampton – Sunderland (H) – Sat 22nd December – Premier League
Reading – Arsenal (H) – Mon 17th December – Premier League