Reading’s impressive 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday has put them in a very strong position in the Championship, one that they can strengthen even further with a victory over Leeds United at the Madejski Stadium. A win for the Royals would see them leapfrog the visitors into 4th place and so motivation could not be any higher.
Captain Paul McShane may come back to replace Liam Moore at the back and there should be another cameo from Lewis Grabban from the bench. Reading’s best chance is to continue in their swashbuckling style and it’s easy to envisage this 4-2-3-1 line-up:
GK – Ali Al-Habsi
The former Bolton star has been in great form this season and should have no doubts about retaining his place in goal.
RB – Chris Gunter
The Welsh international has played more games than any other defender at the club this season and his experience will be invaluable once again.
CB – Paul McShane
The skipper can return to marshal the defence and support young Blackett.
CB – Tyler Blackett
The Manchester United prodigy can continue in a well-balanced defence.
LB – Jordan Obita
The former England U-21 international, just as effective on the left of midfield, can provide a great attacking outlet and perhaps even add to his 1 goal and 3 assists this season.
CM – Daniel Williams
The USA international has 4 goals already to his name this season and has been a strong presence in the Royals’ midfield with 34 appearances before this weekend.
CM – Joey van den Berg
Jaap Stam’s fellow countryman brings good experience from the Eredivisie and can start again in central midfield.
AMR – Roy Beerens
Another Dutchman who has made an impact in this league, the former Hertha Berlin star has 6 goals and 2 assists this season and is a crucial cog in Reading’s attacking machine.
AMC – John Swift
The young former Chelsea man has come of age this season. 29 appearances, 7 goals and 6 assists in the Championship have announced him as a proper player at this level. A Premier League future beckons.
AML – Garath McCleary
Also at home on the right, McCleary’s versatility is important to Reading and he can start on the left this time. 8 goals in the league are a testament to his attacking abilities.
ST – Yann Kermorgant
The veteran front man, now 35, has 10 goals to his name in all competitions this season and is still a handful up front. His good relationship with Lewis Grabban may be important later in the game should the on-loan Bournemouth man get off the bench. The game may revolve around his ability to occupy Bartley and Jansson, opening things up for Beerens, Swift and McCleary.