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Royals Take On Tough Toffees In Capital One Cup

22 September 2015
By Alex Bower

"We're looking forward to a really good Capital One Cup tie against Everton this week, and we're looking to continue this run. The players are relishing the challenge."
- Reading Manager Steve Clarke

"It's a really difficult tie and it's being away from home which always makes it harder in a competition that as a football club we haven't been very lucky over the years. It's something that we want to try to rectify."
- Everton Manager Roberto Martinez

Reading are currently enjoying a good spell in their Championship season, finding themselves in the top six places in the table. For now, however, the Championship will be placed on the back burner as attention turns to the Capital One Cup.

The journey to this stage in the competition has hardly been plain sailing for the home side despite playing Colchester and Portsmouth. The first of those games went to extra time which shows how the underdogs can put up a fight when it comes to the cup competition. Reading will this time be the underdogs as they take on Premiership side Everton for a place in the next round.

Everton, meanwhile, have only played one game in the Capital One Cup competition but their match against Barnsley ended up being a goal-fest. Despite going behind on two occasions, Everton went on to win 5-3 in extra time. If that was against a league one side, then Reading definitely have an opportunity to cause an upset.

In terms of starting line-ups, Steve Clarke has already said to expect a multitude of changes. Bearing this in mind, Ali Al-Habsi will be expected to come in in goal, with Lucas Piazon, Paolo Hurtado, Alex Fernandez and Ola John the most likely to start. With Matej Vydra unavailable, Simon Cox will also be particularly keen to make an impact.

Darron Gibson and Leon Osman could make their first starts for the away side after returning to full fitness according to manager Roberto Martinez. Gerard Deulofeu could also start with Kevin Mirallas starting a three match ban. Seamus Coleman and Muhamed Besic are unlikely to feature as they missed Everton's last Premiership game against Swansea through injury.

While the odds are against the Royals based on previous match-ups with Everton, Steve Clarke and his players will be optimistic of causing an upset. The main topic of conversation since the start of the season has been the strength in depth in the squad that Clarke has available. This is the time for the players to prove themselves against an Everton side that have exited the competition at this stage in each of the past three years - all away from home.

Reading and Everton - Head to head record (since August 1994)
Games Between Reading and Everton 7
Reading Wins 3
Everton Wins 3
Draws 1
Reading Goals 6
Everton Goals 8
Average Goals Per Game 2

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