News and Views

Akpan Out As Royals Travel To Cardiff

21 November 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It's back to Championship league action this evening as the Royals make the trip all the way along the M4 to Cardiff City. The game is a mid-table scrap between two sides that have failed to find consistant form this season. Reading are 14th in the table - two points and two places behind Cardiff. Cardiff's home advantage will make them favourites for victory as they have won their last four home games.

However the Bluebirds have seriously struggled away from home to comdemn them to mid-table. Reading know that feeling only too well. We have, amazingly, won two out of three home games, but that hides a painful statistic of just 8 points from 10 league games. It gets worse when you look at our record on the road - we've earnt just one point from our last five away games. Cardiff will seriously fancy their chances of closing the gap on the top six with three points and pile more pressure on Reading manager Nigel Adkins.

Cardiff have some injury problems to contend with after players picked up knocks in the recent internationals. Reading's squad have emerged mostly unscathed from their international duty with the big exception of Hope Akpan. The midfielder will definately miss out on this game but may be out of action for three months after injuring his shoulder while away on duty with Nigeria. The break worked in Reading's favour for the welcome return of Garath McCleary and Shaun Cummings who have returned to full training after long term injuries and are expected to be available for Adkins to choose from.

A look at our recent history with Cardiff City doesn't help with the optimism for this fixture. Reading have beaten Cardiff just once in the last 11 meetings. That was a 3-0 away win in the second leg of our play-off semi-final in May 2011. That unexpected win felt pointless as Reading went on to the inevitable play-off defeat, going down 2-4 at Wembley to fellow Welsh side Swansea City. The last time the sides met was in the Championship in the following 2011/2012 season. Cardiff beat us 1-3 at their place and won 1-2 at the Madejski to collect all six points.

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