Who saw that one coming? Ten games without a win this season in the Premier League, then Reading pop up with a quite astounding victory at home to high-flying Everton. Consistency is the key to survival, however, and a loss away to fellow relegation battlers Wigan Athletic could see all of last week's good work undone in 90 minutes. Here's a full run-down of everything you need to know ahead of the Royals' trip to the north-west.
Form Guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Reading: W, D, D, D (90 mins), D, L
Wigan: L, L, W, D (90 mins), W, L
That beautiful W in the Reading column is vital to the game, as the Royals finally gained their first Premier League win this season at the 11th time of asking. They had led in 5 of those 10 previous games, but not held on to secure all three points. McDermott's men did it the hard way instead, coming from behind at half-time against Everton to grind out a morale-boosting 2-1 win. Had they let another lead slip, the mood going up to Wigan would have been much less confident. Reading are somewhat of draw specialists it seems, having finished level after 90 in 6 of their 11 PL games. Another tie here wouldn't be a disaster but a good performance is what all Royals fans want to see.
Wigan, meanwhile, are the epitome of inconsistency. A stop-start season has seen them gain 11 points from 12 games, including back-to-back wins at Tottenham then at home to West Ham, but they've also seen defeats against the likes of Sunderland and Swansea. They did, however, beat Southampton at the St. Mary's earlier in the campaign, so the Latics have the opportunity to create a minor statistic and be the first team to beat all three promoted clubs this season.
Head to head
Some memorable games for both sets of supporters in the history of this fixture. In 2001, Reading were 1-0 down in the Play-Off Second Leg after a fine goal from Kevin Nicholls... until a certain Nicky Forster turned the game on its head, setting up Martin Butler for the equaliser before winning a penalty and slamming home the rebound after Jamie Cureton had his effort saved.
Wigan, meanwhile, have their own beautiful memory of playing the Royals. They secured their first ever promotion to the Premier League with a 3-1 win at home to Reading - a certain Jason Roberts grabbing the second goal for the Latics that day.
Reading haven't scored in their two Premier League trips to the JJB/DW Stadium, going down 1-0 in their first PL season before playing out a 0-0 draw in the relegation season of 2007/08. It was back in 2003 that Reading last won in Greater Manchester, as that man Forster plundered both goals as the Royals sailed to victory.
To change a winning team or not? Brian McDermott has said this week he's not afraid to make changes despite Reading finally securing a Premier League victory last time out. Who drops out in that case is anyone's guess, though the back five and central midfield are unlikely to change. Jimmy Kebe has resumed training and so might replace Hal Robson-Kanu, but the Malian winger might start on the bench.
The changes, if any, might be up front. Pavel Pogrebnyak didn't even get onto the pitch against Everton and so he might be given an opportunity to show what he can do against a Latics defence which has conceded in all but two Premier League games this season. Equally Noel Hunt may want to display his talents, but to drop either Jason Roberts (against his former club) or Adam Le Fondre would be harsh on the pair.
An injury crisis for Wigan, who are without a lot of key players. Ben Watson and Gary Caldwell sustained injuries against Liverpool last time out, adding to a list which includes James McArthur, Albert Crusat and Antolin Alcaraz.
Wigan: Al-Habsi; Lopez, Ramis, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, Jones, Beausejour; Maloney, Kone, Di Santo
Reading: Federici; Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey; Kebe, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Le Fondre, Roberts
Howard Webb has already reffed us once this season, in our 3-1 home loss to Tottenham. That day, he missed the most blatant of hand-balls in the box from Kyle Walker, leaving a sour taste in home mouths. He also reffed our 3-0 play-off victory at Cardiff in 2011, where he awarded a penalty for a foul on Matt Mills.
The Tilehurst End Prediction
How can you predict anything in this league where anything can happen! Reading's 0-0 draw with Norwich looks like solid form as the Canaries then went on to beat Manchester United next time out. Wigan have only won once at home this season, and are in relative crisis with regards to injuries. Reading, meanwhile, will have sky-high confidence and for that reason I think the Royals will upset the odds and record a second 2-1 win on the bounce.