“It’s another difficult team in how they play. They have good players, they have a certain physique, and they like to mix it up with their ability on the ball as well.”– Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam
“It’s another tough game- we’ve got a tough run in. We can’t expect anything in this league- every team we’ve played against has come with different ideas and different problems. We need to deal with that, and try to take advantage.”– Reading FC Defender Liam Moore
“We are capable of getting results everywhere, but the next five games are tough for us. Reading have been impressive, you just have to look at the results really and they are entertaining.”– Cardiff City Manager Neil Warnock
Reading return to the Madejski on Saturday afternoon, only a few days after their 1-0 win against Fulham. The Royals have the opportunity to return to third in the Championship with a win against Cardiff City.
Last time out, Reading secured all three points courtesy of a Roy Beerens rebound goal. John Swift saw his initial penalty attempt saved but, in typical Reading style, the Dutchman was on hand to convert with the follow up effort. Ali Al-Habsi was the hero of the game, however, with his penalty save at the death seeing Reading through to the end with all three points.
Cardiff, meanwhile, have been on a fairly good run in recent league games up until their last away game to Brighton. The game ended 1-0 to the Seagulls thanks to a late Tomer Hemed goal and brought Cardiff’s unbeaten league run to an end at four games. Despite this positive spell, the Bluebirds still only find themselves in sixteenth position in the Championship.
In terms of the teams, Reading have the option of Jordan Obita again after he served a one-match suspension. Yann Kermorgant could also be contention for a starting spot after he dropped to the bench last time out due to illness. Cardiff, meanwhile, will be without Bruno Manga after he damaged his knee ligaments during the African Cup of Nations. Anthony Pilkington will also miss out because of a thigh injury meaning that Rickie Lambert could start.
Being at the Madejski, the odds have to be in Reading’s favour. The Royals have won six of their last seven games at home and have lost only once. Cardiff, in comparison, have only won one of their past six away games having drawn twice and lost on three occasions.
The main concern for Jaap Stam and his players, however, is the current state of the Madejski pitch. Their thoughts on its condition were made public this week due to the impact it could have on Reading’s current playing style. If the players can adapt to the less than ideal conditions, then they should come out of this one with another win.