Stoke (H) - Match Preview

So here it is, the day we've all been looking forward too since the full time whistle went at the end of the Forest game, our first match back in the Premier League.

The European Championships and the London Olympics have provided a nice distraction from a long summer without club football but now it's time to get back to the nitty gritty, 38 Premier League games that will prove pivotal to the club's long-term future.

Tomorrow's opponents are Stoke City, who finished last season in 14th place to secure a fifth successive season of Premier League football.

Below the jump we'll look ahead to the game and the history between the two sides.


The Royals haven't played Stoke since the end of the 2005/06 season when Steve Coppell's already promoted side ran out 3-1 winners at the Madejski Stadium.

Reading's subsequent promotion and then relegation during Stoke's own promotion season kept the two sides apart in the league, though they did meet in a League Cup tie back in 2008 at the Britannia which Stoke won in a shoot out.

Stoke have spent the last four seasons in the top division but have never had a great record away from home, winning just 13 of their 76 away games in the Premier League with 44 defeats in that time. They've also never won their opening away game in a Premier League season, with three defeats and one draw in the last four years, so a few reasons to be optimistic there.

However, Reading themselves haven't had too much joy in home openers with just two wins in our last seven attempts, though one of those did memorably come against Middlesbrough in our first ever Premier League game back in 2006.

Overall they've met 46 times with Reading just edging it out over the years with 17 wins to Stoke's 16.

Team News

Reading will be without Jason Roberts due to suspension while Jimmy Kebe isn't expected to be in the squad due to a hamstring injury. Otherwise we should have a full squad to choose from, with Chris Gunter safely coming through a full game 90 minutes against Palace last week.

Stoke have worries over Robert Huth who's just been in hospital with viral meningitis and Jermaine Pennant who has a thigh strain.

Over the summer Tony Pulis hasn't seemed to have gotten out of the habit of buying up players for relegated clubs with Michael Kightly the latest addition from Wolves, with his teammate Ryan Jarvis also looking close to joining the Potters.

Last Time Out:

Reading: Federici, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce, Gunter, McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak

Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Pennant, Whelan, Cameron, Kightly, Walters, Crouch.


Reading 7/5

Draw 12/5

Stoke 44/19

Tilehurst End Prediction

Hopefully the feel good factor will carry on from the pre-match festivities and we can get all three points. While a draw or even a defeat wouldn't be the end of the world it would be good to get early points on the door and this is the type of game we should be targeting three points from.

I think we'll be able to get the win, my guess is a 2-1 win with goals from Pog and Guthrie.

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