News and Views

Watford At Home For New Manager Clarke

19 December 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

New manager Steve Clarke takes charge of his first Reading game this weekend as Watford travel to the Madejski Stadium. Clarke, who took over on Tuesday has had three days to assess his squad and decide who to play and how to approach the game. After attendances have been dwindling at home, the club will be hoping fans turn up to support the team and the new manager, and to take an early glipse as to how things might shape up under Clarke's guidance.

Reading's last two home games were a 0-0 draw against Bolton and a 0-1 defeat against Charlton before that. Home fans have been starved of recent goals or excitement, which might well work in Clarke's favour as he looks to start his reign in a positive fashion. With Watford 6th in the table and Reading 16th, Watford are narrowly favourites for victory with the bookmakers, despite being away from home. That all means that if Reading get anything at all from the game it will be seen as an acceptable start for Clarke. Of course Reading were thrashed 1-6 away at Birmingham last weekend - a result that was snapped up by the club as the trigger to dismiss an unfortunate Nigel Adkins. Clarke will be very keen to avoid a similar result as he openly talks about aiming for promotion this season with the Royals.

Reading have a number of injury doubts and may be without Mackie, Pogrebnyak, and Robson-Kanu. Potential key players Ferdinand and Karacan are both still not match fit and seem unlikely to feature. After last weekend's big defeat Alex Pearce will be hoping to make a return to the starting line-up as players work hard to impress the new manager, Watford have few injury worries as they look to follow up on two straight wins that included a 5-0 thrashing of Fulham - at Fulham - two weeks ago. Last weekend Watford were 2-1 home winners over Wigan. Watford come to Reading with four wins and two draws from their ten away Championship games so far this season.

Out of the last 25 meetings with Watford, the Royals have won 9 and Watford have won 6. Last season Reading were 1-0 winners at Watford while the teams drew 3-3 at the Madejski in August 2013 with Le Fondre on the scoresheet and Karacan getting two goals. Watford needed a last minute equaliser that day to share the points.

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