Match Preview: Reading FC v Fulham

“We are ready to play a very good Fulham side once more. We know our opponents play good possession football and we’re all aware of the quality they possess, so we need to try to make it difficult for them and hopefully get ourselves a win.”– Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam

“It is a massive game – every game in the Championship is massive, because everyone wants to be up there fighting to be in the play-offs and chasing everyone that’s above them.  So it’s massive for us, and it’ll be massive for them as well.”– Reading FC Midfielder John Swift

“The abandonment was a bit strange. It was lucky the game was level because otherwise I’m sure it would have been a bit controversial. We have to show Reading respect because they are ahead of us in the table. They play a similar passing style to us, so we are wary of them.”– Fulham Goalkeeper David Button

Due to a somewhat controversial postponement, Reading FC face Fulham on Tuesday evening for the third time this season. The last time the two sides met at the Madejski, the game was halted before the second half because of foggy conditions.

Reading go into the rearranged game fifth in the Championship but have been suffering a dip in form of late. The Royals have now succumbed to two narrow league defeats against QPR and Derby following their FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United.

Fulham, meanwhile, are in ninth having won two, drawn one and lost one so far this month. Last time out they could only manage a 1-1 draw against a QPR side who have recently beaten the Royals.

The reverse fixture between the two sides earlier in the season is one that Reading will be hoping to avenge. Fulham won the game 5-0 courtesy of goals from Reading’s own Chris Gunter, a brace from Chris Martin, Sone Aluko and Stefan Johansen.

If Reading are to get back to winning ways, however, they will have to do so without left-back Jordan Obita. Jaap Stam, however, has no new injury worries going into the game. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic also has no new injury concerns but Floyd Ayite and Neeskens Kebano are away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Based on the first-half of the abandoned fixture, it will be a tough game for the Royals. Both sides play in a similar fashion so it will be hard to break the away side down. Ryan Fredericks is a continuous threat for Fulham and has already shown that he has the beating of the Reading defence. The Lilywhites will also be boosted by the availability of Chris Martin, who did not feature last time out due to drama surrounding his loan.

If Reading are serious about contending for promotion, however, these are the kinds of games they have to be winning. Losing three league games on the bounce would also have an unwelcome impact on confidence so this is the time to string some positive results together.

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