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Cardiff City v Reading FC: 3 Things To Look Out For

Chris Coleman sitting with Reading fans, the new Brian McDermott, and Adam Le Fondre turning into Noel Hunt, are our three things to look out for at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight. Find out why...

Stu Forster/Getty Images

1) Chris Coleman sat in the away end

Okay so Wales’ chewing gum loving manager is not really going to sit with the Reading fans, but if you asked him who he wants to win tonight, then he might not be as pro-Cardiff as you think. No club provided more players for Wales’ most recent squad than the Royals. The Bluebirds on the other hand only had one player, Danny Gabbidon, in the squad.

Reading fans will be hoping that playing at Wales’ home ground will inspire Chris Gunter and Hal Robson-Kanu. Gunter has appeared out of confidence in recent months for the Royals, but on Monday he was described by the Western Mail as "being in the form of his Wales career." Against Belgium he played a key role in Wales getting a clean sheet. Eden Hazard may be terrifying the world’s best full backs but he was subdued against Reading’s stand-in captain. Let’s hope this will give Gunter the confidence boost he needs for the Royals.

As for Robson-Kanu, well, the lad’s clearly talented. You don’t score goals like he did in the Premier League without having talent, but since Reading’s relegation back to Championship he has largely been anonymous or injured. I struggle to think of one game where has put in a 7+ out of 10 performance in the last year and a half for Reading, and I’m a big fan of his. Put him in the red shirt of Wales, though, and he’s transformed. He has become a key player for Chris Coleman and looks like every bit the Premier League player he could be. It’s time for him to show this for Reading too.

2) Russell Slade is the new Brian McDermott

Now you're just being lazy you're thinking. Yes they're both bald tracksuit wearing managers, but what else do they have in common? Well, they are both big fans of 4-4-2 and playing a settled side. Like McDermott, Slade likes his wingers to be wingers. Not surprisingly this means WhoScored give "attacking down the wings" as one of Cardiff’s characteristics.

Peter Whittingham aside, Cardiff are perhaps surprisingly one of the division's worst passing teams. Only three teams have made less successful passes than City (249 per game). Perhaps that's another nod to the McDermott comparison, though Ole Gunnar Solskjær probably takes more of the blame for that stat.

The main thing that comes to mind looking at Cardiff's stats is that there isn't really anything special about them. They are not particularly good or bad at anything, and are in the middle of most of the statistics for the league. Given this, it is perhaps a surprise that, since Slade took over, the talented Mats Møller Dæhli and Ravel Morrison have had to make do with a place on Cardiff’s subs bench.

Their lack of starts has led one local journalist to wonder whether Cardiff’s reserve eleven is stronger than Slade’s starting line-up. Eight players have started every one of Slade’s six games in charge, and two players have missed just one game. The international break just gone was Slade’s first at Cardiff, so it might have given him time to consider making changes. He may though continue with the team he trusts, especially as he’s won every home game to date.

3) Has Adam Le Fondre turned into Noel Hunt?

Ask Reading fans what they think of Noel Hunt and there’s a good chance "hard working" will come up. Search for Cardiff fans' and journalists' view of Adam Le Fondre, and the same praise often comes up. With just one goal this season, Le Fondre’s performances for Cardiff seem to be more like Noel Hunt at Reading, than Adam Le Fondre at Reading.

At Reading Le Fondre was often accused of being a luxury player who didn’t do enough to justify starting games. City fans seem sympathetic to his lack of luck in front of goal and appreciate his effort. If there is one team who can kick start his season than it will probably be Reading. Former players Michael Antonio, Simon Cox (last season), Greg Halford, Darius Henderson, James Henry and Jay Tabb have all scored recently against the Royals.

All stats courtesy of Squawka and WhoScored