The Madejski Stadium hasn't proved to be the best venue for Burnley. Our first visit came in 1998 when the place wasn't even ready, and tonight's visit will be our 12th. To date we have won there just once.
|Kieran Trippier is expected to be fit|
There have been four draws and four defeats in the league and two FA Cup exits in 2007 and 2010. The television cameras haven't been at any of those games in terms of live coverage but they were for one of our games there.
I'm not sure any of us will ever forget that memorable night at the Madejski in May 2009 when, after a difficult first half, we scored two wonder goals through Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson to take us to Wembley and the play off final.
I don't think there will be quite so many of us there tonight, but the memories will come flooding back, particularly the memories of that period after the game when the whole away end just celebrated.
It will be quieter tonight but it is an important game, more so having lost at Southampton last Saturday so we'll be looking to bounce back on our travels. The good news is that we got back to winning ways on Tuesday with a very comfortable win against Barnsley.
It's a result that has taken us into tenth place in the table but we still sit four points behind tonight's hosts who also have a game in hand on us. They are the immediate target, that coveted sixth place.
The only injury worry ahead of the game is that of Kieran Trippier, other than him everyone seemed to come through Tuesday ok with no substitutions made until the last ten minutes or so of the game.
We know what problems we had at Norwich when Trippier wasn't available so it will be good news if he's fit to start tonight.
Tuesday brought with it a belated Burnley debut for Danny Ings. The 19-year-old signed for the Clarets towards the end of the summer transfer window but a knee injury in training in his first week at the club brought surgery and a long delay before he could pull on the claret and blue shirt.
He did for the first time in the recent reserve team win against Preston at Chorley, coming on and scoring the winner. On Tuesday we got a short cameo from him as he finally got on the pitch in a first team game.
That's a real boost for manager Eddie Howe ahead of the run in, and his options could be boosted further tonight with a return for Paterson. I wouldn't mind Pato scoring another goal like the one in the play offs but I'm sure he'll just be delighted to get back onto the pitch after his recent hamstring injury.
He'd just got back fit after missing half of the season and had established himself as a first choice up front before pulling up close to the end of the emphatic win at Middlesbrough.
Howe could be spoilt for choice tonight, but I expect him to stick with the team that won so easily on Tuesday, provided Trippier is fit, with him having a few more options on the bench.
I expect us to line up: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Josh McQuoid, Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Brian Easton, Marvin Bartley, Keith Treacy, Zavon Hines, Danny Ings, Martin Paterson.
Our Opponents - Reading
Reading have gone through a massive period of change in the last couple of years. Manager Steve Coppell bowed out after their play off defeat against us and he was replaced by Brendan Rodgers who is now doing so well with Swansea.
It didn't quite work for him at Reading and he was quickly replaced by Brian McDermott as player after player left.
At the start of 2010 they were in the relegation positions in the Championship and it is testament to the job that McDermott, promoted from within the club, has done. By the end of the season he'd hoisted them to ninth and last season they reached Wembley in the play offs only to be beaten by Rodgers and his Swansea team.
There has been no after effects of that defeat either and they are right back up there in the top six and the future looks bright for them with the recent investment from a Russian consortium who have taken a 51% share of the club from John Madejski.
Just before that, McDermott had warned fans that there would be no January signings because of finances, but this allowed him to dip into the market and sign Jason Roberts, Matthew Connolly and Tomasz Cywka from Blackburn, QPR and Derby respectively.
The first two have already made significant contributions. Roberts, unable to play at Blackburn due to contractual difficulties, has bagged two goals in three games while Connolly has helped them to two clean sheets.
Cywka has been used only as a substitute but he's had an impact, winning a crucial penalty on his debut.
They definitely come into this game in some outstanding form with eight wins in their last ten league games. Only five goals have been conceded in those ten games, and three of them came in one of the defeats, a 3-1 reverse at Cardiff.
They have one of the meanest defences in the division with only 27 goals conceded this season in the league.
Points have been dropped at home though. They've won eight of their home games but also drawn four and lost four. The first two defeats came early in the season to Barnsley and Watford, but the more recent two have been against two of their play off rivals Cardiff and Hull.
Simon Church and Adam Le Fondre, both with six, are their leading goalscorers, but neither featured in their most recent game, a 1-0 win at Derby when Noel Hunt scored the only goal. Both Church and Le Fondre were unused substitutes.
McDermott is expected to name a similar team tonight, although Joseph Mills could come in for Hal Robson-Kanu.
Their team at Derby was: Adam Federici, Matthew Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Alex Pearce, Ian Harte, Jimmy Kebe, Jem Karacen, Mikele Leigertwood, Hal Robson-Kanu, Noel Hunt, Jason Roberts. Subs: Andersen, Jay Tabb, Joseph Mills, Simon Church, Adam Le Fondre.
Last Time We Were There
Last season's visit to Reading was in January at a time when Stuart Gray was caretaker manager and it proved to be his only away game in charge before the appointment of Eddie Howe.
It proved to be a strange day for Dean Marney. He had an outstanding game and could have been a strong contender for man of the match but for his missed chances.
|Ross Wallace scored our goal|
Steven Thompson got a game. It was only his second start since the play offs a season and a half previously. He came in for Chris Iwelumo from the win over Sheffield United two days earlier.
Other changes saw Jack Cork and Ross Wallace replace Graham Alexander and Jay Rodriguez, and it was Wallace who showed Marney how things should be done with the opening goal.
We'd endured a shaky start but were then well on top. It was all Burnley but Marney missed two gilt edged chances but when Tyrone Mears crossed low for Wallace, the wide man took a touch and then made no mistake.
The lead lasted just three minutes and the equaliser was a nonsense as far as we were concerned. It was just a long punt upfield. Michael Duff was beaten on the half way line and as it was knocked forward we had Clarke Carlisle stood, hand in air appealing for offside, as Shane Long run through to score.
We should have been well in front by half time but it was all square and we paid for it in the second half.
Reading were much better in the second half and we were on the back foot, but when the goal came it was another shocker. They hit a left wing corner to the back post where Brian Easton just stood and allowed Long a free header.
We did get a chance to equalise, but it was Marney again and he shot wide. We didn't really get another chance and it was away defeat number four for the season.
The teams were;
Reading: Adam Federici, Andy Griffin, Matt Mills, Alex Pearce, Ian Harte, Jimmy Kebe, Mikele Leigertwood, Jem Karacan (Hal Robson-Kanu 67), Jobi McAnuff, Noel Hunt (Simon Church 72), Shane Long. Subs not used: Alex McCarthy, Shaun Cummings, Zurab Khizanishvili, Jay Tabb, Brian Howard.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Brian Easton (Chris Iwelumo 84), Jack Cork, Wade Elliott, Dean Marney (Jay Rodriguez 71), Chris Eagles, Steven Thompson (John Guidetti 79), Ross Wallace. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, David Edgar, Andre Bikey, Graham Alexander.
Previous Games against Reading
|Last 20 Years|
|h||3-0||14,436||Davis, Payton, Wright|
|h||2-5||14,420||I Moore, West|
|2003/04||Division 1||h||3-0||9,473||Blake, Chaplow, Chadwick|
|a||2-2||10,543||I Moore, May|
|2006/07||FA Cup||a||2-3||11,514||Akinbiyi, G O'Connor|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Reading