It is a quick three-day turnover for Reading, as they once again return to the Madejski Stadium to face West Ham. The Royals fought out a stalemate with Swansea on Boxing Day, while the Hammers’ game with Arsenal was postponed due to transport concerns, so will Sam Allardyce’s side have the advantage of being more fresh? Or will their current-injury crisis work in Reading’s favour?
Reading manager Brian McDermott – ”We will try to win every game. Next is West Ham and then it’s Spurs. We tried to beat Man City, we were close to that, this game is no different. West Ham have been a Premier League for many years and they know the league. Our Premier League history is two and a half seasons in 141 years – in comparison West Ham have been around in this league for years. Will it help them having not played? No idea. Sometimes you get momentum, that’s good for us and our players generally like playing regularly – we’re used to that.’
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce – ‘I don’t think we’ll have many more back for Reading, the best we can hope to have back is Yossi Benayoun. I give the lads full credit for their efforts but we need variation and options. Without those it becomes difficult, but it was a brilliant effort by the players. I haven’t got a team to play Arsenal so it’s work out OK. Gary O’Neil started at about 80% fit and Guy Demel had the virus that was floating around so we just came in on Monday to count up the bodies. We won’t do any training and see how packed the medical room is.’
Reading Team News:
Reading are still likely to be without striker Jason Roberts, who has missed the past four games with a hip problem. The Royals have no other short-term injury worries, meaning Brian McDermott is likely to name the same side that drew with Swansea
Player to watch: Danny Guthrie
The former Newcastle midfielder made his first start in over two months against Swansea and will want to build on a promising return. Didn’t see a massive amount of the ball in the Swans game, but is likely to in this encounter.
West Ham Team News:
West Ham’s injury worries have been calmed a little, with Carlton Cole’s red card at Everton last week being rescinded. Yossi Benayoun could be back from injury, while the likes of Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Mohamed Diamé and George McCartey are still on the injury table.
Player to watch: Matt Jarvis
The former Wolves man has had a decent start to his Hammers career and sums up the attributes you want in a winger. Is likely to cause Chris Gunter some problems on the left side.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Guthrie, Le Fondre
West Ham: Jääskeläinen, Demel, Reid, Collins, O’Brien, Noble, O’Neill, Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor, Cole
The referee will be Michael Oliver for this game, who refereed our 1-1 draw with QPR at Loftus Road in November.
Even Mark Lawrenson has predicted us a win, so it could well happen for us Saturday! It will be tough, but I think we can just edge it if we give the same work ethic as we did in the second half against Swansea.
Vital Reading prediction: Reading 2 – 1 West Ham
Reading – Tottenham (A) – Tues 1st January – Premier League
West Ham: – Norwich (H) – Tues 1st January – Premier League