News and Views

Another Tough Game As Middlesbrough Visit

09 January 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Steve Clarke faces perhaps his biggest test as Reading manager this weekend as Middlesbrough visit the Madejski Stadium. Clarke started his reign at Reading with a 0-1 home defeat against high flying Watford, and this will feel like a similar tough challenge as the Royals look to emerge from a poor season and put together a third consecutive win.

After the Watford defeat Clarke saw his new side pick up a 2-2 draw at Brighton before the two recent wins which has given Reading fans cause for optimism. The 2-1 victory against Norwich was an excellent team performance and although the 1-0 win at Huddersfield was as dull as could be it allowed Clarke to enjoy what must be considered a decent start to his employment at Reading Football Club.

That good start could either be underlined or wiped out against a Middlesbrough side that are third in the table and strong contenders for promotion to the Premier League. The visitors are in seriously good form and on a run that has seen them defeated just once in their last 12 fixtures. Reading on the other hand, despite the two recent wins, have been struggling at home. The Norwich game was Reading's only home win out of the last four attempts. Steve Clarke has had time to assess his squad and change things around, and Reading already look a different side to the final weeks under Adkins. Another win for Reading against an excellent Middlesbrough side and we'd agree that it might be time to get excited again about Reading FC.

After being an unused substitute last weekend at Huddersfield, Jem Karacan is finally expected to make his long awaited comeback game. Karacan has been sidelined since being injured during the opening moments of the 1-0 win against Leeds United at the Madejski Stadium in September 2013. His comeback has been slow and steady and he hasn't been rushed. He's had plenty of time building up to full training and behind doors matches and, if he plays, it will be a clear indication that the manager thinks he is going to be up to the job after the injury.

Garath McCleary is a doubt ahead of the game after missing out last weekend after picking up a knee injury against Norwich, however he is expected to be available. Pogrebnyak and Ferdinand are both still expected to entirely miss out.

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