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Preview: Leicester vs Reading

Leicester City
vs.
Reading

Walkers Stadium

24/03/10

7.45 p.m.

Brian McDermott's in-form Reading side take to the Walkers stage on Wednesday evening, as Foxes manager Nigel Pearson looks for another three points to help secure an all-important play-off position.

Reading have won an incredible eight of their last ten league matches after a dismal first half of the campaign which saw the Royals locked in a relegation battle.

Brendan Rogers left his managerial position by mutual consent back in December, with Brian McDermott stepping in ever since to turn the ship around at the Madejski. He was rewarded with a year-long contract back in January to become Reading's full-time manager.

The Royals' recent run of form includes rousing victories over Derby and Sheffield Wednesday in particular, while gutsy wins in the FA Cup against the likes of Liverpool have done much to lighten the mood in Berkshire this season.

For Leicester it means another valuable three points at stake in the race for the play-offs, a task boss Nigel Pearson will be hoping to secure sooner rather than later.

Sunday's disappointing collapse at home to Coventry saw the Foxes come away with a point, but only after finding themselves two goals to the good at the break.

Reading too claimed a point at the weekend themselves, a David Wheater own goal cancelled out by Chris Killen's equaliser at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Last time the two sides met came back in October, Martyn Waghorn's late first-half header handing City a hard-earned smash and grab victory on the night.

With Blackpool hosting Swansea this evening and Cardiff welcoming Sheffield United tomorrow, another victory for City could prove invaluable in the battle for promotion.

Vital Quotes:

Reading midfielder Brian Howard: 'It's a tough week but we're really enjoying it at the moment. Nobody will want to play us and we're hard to beat. We won't worry too much about the opposition, we'll get ourselves right and hopefully put in a good performance.'

Leicester City Team News:

Leicester are sweating on the fitness of left back Bruno Berner, who pulled out of the Coventry game in the warm-up.

Nigel Pearson could welcome back Alex Bruce and James Vaughan to the squad, who both picked up injuries in the victory over Cardiff.

New signing Jay Spearing should go straight into the squad, providing the manager with a useful alternative in the middle of the park.

Player to watch: Matt Oakley

On the brink of his 100th appearance for the club, Oakley has some work to do. A disappointing season has often frustrated the City support over the course of the year, but there are still undoubted qualities in the captain's game.

With new signign Jay Spearing likely to be breathing down his neck for first team action, Oakley will need to start standing up to be counted and show what he is really capable of.

Reading Team News:

Centre back Ivan Ingimarsson has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, and should be replaced by the on-loan Zurab Khizanishvili.

Player to watch: Jimmy Kébé

The Malian winger has found his feet well in the Championship with Reading, getting himself on the scoresheet an impressive eight times so far this campaign.

Quick and ultimately dangerous, Leicester will be hoping Bruno Berner is fit to play to deal with the pacy wideman or Jobi McAnuff.

Match Facts & Stats

- Reading have only ever beaten the Foxes away from home once - a 2-0 victory in December 2004.

- Leicester have the fewest number of goalscorers in the division (9).

- Reading are searching for their 1,500th victory in the club's history.

- The Royals currently lead the way in the form table (last 8 matches), winning six of their last eight games.

Match Prediction:

Another difficult one on the cards... Leicester 1-1 Reading

Next Fixtures:

Saturday 27th March:

Leicester: Derby (A)

Reading: West Brom (H)


Writer:JBFox
Date:Tuesday March 23 2010
Time: 7:05PM

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