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Tottenham (H) Match Preview

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In just over 24 hours Reading's players will step foot on the Madejski Stadium turf to play their first league game at the Stadium since August 18 when we drew 1-1 with Stoke. Nearly a month later and we've played twice more, losing 4-2 at Chelsea and beating Peterborough 3-2 but really this feels like the first game of the 'real season'.

The build up to Sunday's game has focussed on the return of Gylfi Sigurdsson and the poor start of Tottenham under Andre Villas-Boas but for us it's all about how the Royals respond after a prolonged break and if they can pick up a vital first win of the season.


We didn't play Spurs in a competitive fixture between 1930 & 2006, but managed six meetings during our two-year Premier League stint, with Reading winning once, Spurs taking the honours four times and one draw. The one win came during our first Premier League season when goals from Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell and Kevin Doyle allowed us to come from behind to win 3-1. The other home league meeting was a much more sombre affair as we lost the chance to save ourselves from the drop by losing 1-0 in our final home game of the season. The most noteworthy meeting came at White Hart Lane that same season when Tottenham ended up winning an absolutely crazy affair 6-4.

Team News

Both Jason Roberts and Jimmy Kebe have made positive steps in their recoveries from injuries but I'd be surprised to see them thrown in at the deep end so soon. If either is involved it would seem more likely to be Kebe but I wouldn't bank on seeing the Malian winger in action until the league cup trip to QPR a week Wednesday.

Elsewhere a late injury worry seems to be goalkeeper Adam Federici, who missed Australia's World Cup qualifiers with a knee injury and seems to be struggling for tomorrow's game. Should Feds not be fit then Brian McDermott will have to choose between the experienced Stuart Taylor or regular Number 2 Alex McCarthy. While I can understand why we might turn to the former Man City 'keeper, I hope McCarthy gets the nod as he deserves the chance to show what he can do.

Otherwise Brian should have the same outfield players to choose from that he did for our trip to Stamford Bridge and the only real debate would seem to be whether we stick with 4-5-1 or revert to the 4-4-2 we saw against Stoke. If we do go 4-4-2 then Jem Karacan would likely drop out for Adam Le Fondre, but given that Spurs will play with 5 in the middle, I'd expect us to match up and remain unchanged.

Spurs wise, they're still without Scott Parker but otherwise they'll have a strong side to choose from, with Andre Villas-Boas set to give a debut to new signing Clint Dempsey and a first start for Moussa Dembele. Glyfi Sigurdsson could well feature for Tottenham in a 5-man midfield unless Livermore plays and Dembele features in a more advanced role.

For the Tottenham POV we spoke yesterday to Kevin McCauley from Cartilage Free Captain, which you can read here.

Likely Lineups:

Reading: (4-2-3-1) McCarthy; Harte, Gorkss, Pearce, Gunter; Leigertwood, Karacan; McAnuff (c), Guthrie, McCleary; Pogrebnyak

Tottenham: (4-2-3-1) Friedel; Assou-Ekotto, Vertonghen, Gallas, Walker; Dembele, Sandro; Bale, Sigurdsson, Dempsey; Adebayor

The Ref

Yorkshire's Howard Webb

The man who refereed the 2010 World Cup final will take charge tomorrow, with Reading fans holding him in high esteem after a splendid performance in our 3-0 play-off semi-final win at Cardiff.

This year he's handed out 7 bookings and 0 reds in two games.

Best Odds

Reading 14/5

Draw 5/2

Tottenham 11/10

Tilehurst End Prediction

Have to say I've got a good feeling about this one, I think they'll be goals and I fancy us to edge it 2-1.