This week Southampton make their first visit to the Madejski Stadium since 2008 when Bradley Wright-Phillips helped end our unbeaten home start to the season. Southampton would end up relegated at the end of that season but have come back strongly from their time in the third tier with a Football League Trophy, a runners-up finish last year and now sitting at the top of the Championship having beaten second placed West Ham in midweek. Ahead of Saturday's live televised clash, Saints fan Chris Rann from Saints blog George Weah's Cousin gives us his thoughts.
How do you rate your start to the season?
Hmmm…. Top, five points clear, seventeen straight home victories. I am struggling to find reason for complaint, but as a Saints fan I insist that I don't drop in standard. So, we could be more resilient away from home. Seriously though, this start has been more than we ever could have hoped for. Optimism is a hard to come by in Southampton at the best of times, so it was quite surprising to see some fans make us outside bets for the playoffs, most, myself included playing safe with predictions of mid table consolidation. The added bonus to our results has been the manner in which we have achieved them. We are playing some lovely football, and when we get in our stride we are totally bossing teams.
It's been a rollercoaster ride over the last 10 years for Saints but things are finally looking up again, what's the biggest reason for your recent success?
Well, firstly we might not even be here if it weren't for the Liebherr family, who rescued us from administration, but one of the best decisions they have made has been the appointment of Nigel Adkins. Many Saints fans eyebrows were raised when Adkins took over, but he has proved the doubters wrong and then some. Nice football, great results, great spirit, rising attendances, records being broken on an almost weekly basis, Adkins, with the backing of the chairman has breathed a new lease of life into the club.
What's your best memories of Reading v Southampton?
Difficult question. My memories of Reading seem to be either of midweek defeats or dull draws. Beating you 2-1 at the Madejski in late 2008 was a rare highlight in an awful season, with the even rarer highlight of a Bradley Wright-Phillips brace in it!
And the worst?
I think you knocked us out of the cup in two consecutive seasons in the mid 90's, when of course we were the Premier League favourites. Distantly remember you battering us at Elm Park in the FA Cup one year, with Darren Caskey scoring. I think the final score was 3-1.
Who do Southampton fans fear from the Reading team?
For me it is certainly Le Fondre. Much like our own Rickie Lambert, the guy just scored two many goals in the lower leagues to not be able to step up. There were a lot of rumours that we were after him, so it could be a case of seeing what we are missing. The same can also be said for Kasper Gorkss. We were very close to signing him, but pulled out at the last minute if you believe Neil Warnock, so it would be very Saints, for him to pop up with a winner in the dying seconds!
Who should Reading fans be looking out for?
He hasn't played in the last two games, but Adam Lallana has been a different class for over two years now. When he plays well, we really tick as a side, and in my opinion are capable of beating anyone. Jack Cork is a quality central midfielder at this level, and Rickie Lambert is currently the Championship top scorer.
Predictions for the game?
I have a feeling for an entertaining draw, so I am going to say 2-2. Cedric Baseya to get his first professional goal!
Thanks again to Chris and you can follow him on twitter @crstig