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Cardiff City v Reading FC: Match Preview

Reading travel to the Cardiff City Stadium this evening and Phil Owtram rounds up all you need to know ahead of the game.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Cardiff v Reading
League Championship
Friday 21st November 2014, KO 7:45PM
Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: James Linington

Reading (14th)

Form (all comps): LWLWL
Reading v Charlton: 0-1
Reading v Rotherham: 3-0
Blackburn v Reading: 3-1
Reading v Blackpool: 3-0
Bournemouth v Reading: 3-0

Reading must recover from their disappointing performance against Charlton prior to the international break and from the news that Hope Akpan will be out for up to 3 months, after he dislocated his shoulder playing for Nigeria. There have been a number of other Royals representing their countries over the past couple of weeks, read our international roundup here. With rumors circulating that a member of the Thai consortium in control of Reading is flying in to discuss the future of Nigel Adkins the pressure will be on the manager and his team to put a good run of form together. A trip to Cardiff will not be the easiest of tasks, especially as this fixture has only yielded 3 wins for Reading in 10 matches in the Welsh capital. This is coupled with the fact that Reading have now only won twice in 11 matches and have only managed to secure 8 points from a possible 33, a meagre return whichever way you look at it. If that wasn’t enough doom and gloom Reading have not won in their last 6 away matches with the 0-0 draw at Leeds in October the only game in which they avoided defeat. On a positive note Reading have received a major boost to their squad as Garath McCleary has been included in the squad to face Cardiff after coming through his practice matches unscathed.

Cardiff (12th)
Form (all comps): DLWLW
Birmingham v Cardiff: 0-0
Bolton v Cardiff: 3-0
Cardiff v Leeds: 3-1
Millwall v Cardiff: 1-0
Cardiff v Ipswich: 3-1

Cardiff have been fairly inconsistent of late, not registering back to back wins since August. They entered the international break with a 0-0 draw at rejuvenated Birmingham City, which followed a 3-0 away defeat to Bolton also experiencing a honeymoon period under new manager Neil Lennon. Back on home soil The Bluebirds will be hoping they can build on their recent home form which has seen them win each of their last 4 matches at the Cardiff City Stadium. Russell Slade has won 3 of his 6 matches in charge after taking over the hot seat following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Former Royals Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrison will both be in contention to face their former club. Le Fondre has struggled to hit any sort of goal scoring form since he moved to the Welsh club in the summer, registering only 1 goal in 14 appearances.

Last five meetings
02 Jan 2012 Cardiff v Reading L 3-1 League Championship
19 Nov 2011 Reading v Cardiff L 1-2 League Championship
17 May 2011 Cardiff v Reading W 0-3 League Championship Play-Offs
13 May 2011 Reading v Cardiff D 0-0 League Championship Play-Offs
01 Feb 2011 Cardiff v Reading D 2-2 League Championship

Head to Head
This will be the 60th meeting between these two sides in all competitions after they first met in a 1926/7 FA Cup semi-final won by today’s hosts 3-0. This was just one of 21 victories against the Royals who have won on 20 occasions when these two sides have met with 18 ending in a draw. Thanks to both sides recent seasons in the Premier League these teams last met in Reading’s 2011/12 promotion season where the Royals lost home and away to the Bluebirds 2-1 at Madejski Stadium and 3-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium a couple of months later. Reading have not won away to Cardiff since their 3-0 play-off semi-final victory in the 2010/11 season which was their first victory on Cardiff soil since 2006 and the first in 11 meetings.

Team News
Reading: The Royals received the news that a dislocated shoulder picked up on international duty will keep Hope Akpan out of the side for up to 3 months. Anton Ferdinand still hasn’t recovered from the calf problem picked up during his debut against Rotherham. Jem Karacan had some swelling on his previously injured knee and will not be involved. The Royals will be able to welcome back Garath McCleary to the squad after not featuring since the last game of last season while Sean Cummings, injured against Scunthorpe earlier in the season will also be in the squad.

Cardiff: Midfielder Anthony Pilkington will be assessed after he picked up a slight strain playing for Republic of Ireland. Striker Kenwyne Jones report back for duty until Thursday afternoon after playing for Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Cup final against Jamaica.

Prediction: Cardiff 1-1 Reading