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Reading FC v Norwich City City: Match Preview

Reading host Norwich City at Madejski Stadium as the sides play their second game against each other in under a month. Can the Royals repeat their victory at Carrow Road in November? Phil Owtram previews the action ahead of today's game.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Reading FC v Norwich City FC
League Championship
Sunday 28th December 2014, KO 3PM

Madejski Stadium
Referee: James Linington

Reading (17th)
Form (all comps): DLLDW
Brighton v Reading: 2-2
Reading v Watford: 0-1
Birmingham v Reading: 6-1
Reading v Bolton: 0-0
Norwich v Reading: 1-2

Manager: Steve Clarke

Reading warmed up for this one with a 2-2 draw at struggling Brighton on Boxing Day. The Royals started brightly and were ahead through Glenn Murray within the first minute and the on-loan striker doubled his tally 25 minutes later to give his team a comfortable lead. However a Forster-Caskey goal on 40 minutes gave the Seagulls something to cling on to in the second half and they capitalised on this in the 90th minute when Spaniard Inigo Calderon equalised for the South-Coast side. Reading were again left feeling disappointed after a good first half display and then a second half where it looked like they might hold on for all 3 points despite Brighton's push for an equaliser. Even so Steve Clarke has his first point and certainly knows how much work there is to do before he can get this team climbing the table, starting with Norwich City this afternoon.

Norwich City (7th)
Form (all comps): WDWWL
Norwich v Millwall: 6-1
Derby v Norwich: 2-2
Norwich v Huddersfield: 5-0
Wigan v Norwich: 0-1
Norwich v Reading: 1-2

Manager: Neil Adams

Norwich come into this one on the back of a 6-1 thrashing of Millwall on Boxing Day. Two first half goals and 4 in the second half blew Millwall away and helped Norwich climb up to 7th in the table. Friday's result means the Canaries have scored 13 goals in their last 3 games thanks to their 5-0 win over Huddersfield two games ago. The positive for Reading is that both bumper scorelines were recorded at Carrow Road, a ground Reading mustered a 2-1 win at all but a month ago. Bradley Johnson has scored 4 in his last 3 games with braces against Huddersfield and Millwall and will be a key man again for Norwich as they travel to Madejski Stadium this afternoon.

Last five meetings
29 Nov 2014 Norwich v Reading W 1-2 League Championship
20 Apr 2013 Norwich v Reading L 2-1 Premier League
10 Nov 2012 Reading v Norwich D 0-0 Premier League
12 Feb 2011 12 Feb 2011 Norwich v Reading L 2-1 League Championship
13 Nov 2010 Reading v Norwich D 3-3 League Championship

Head to Head
This will be the 71st meeting between these two sides with Reading only marginally holding the better record with 27 wins to Norwich's 25 and 18 draws. Their most recent meeting only a month ago when they met at Carrow Road and Reading recorded a surprising 2-1 win thanks to a Jake Cooper double and Steve Clarke will hoping for another similar result this afternoon. Their previous two meetings were in the Premier League which included a 0-0 draw at Madejski Stadium followed by a 2-1 win for Norwich which contributed to the Royals being officially relegated following a 0-0 draw with QPR in their next game.

Team News
Reading: Garath McCleary missed Friday's game after picking up a knock in training on Christmas Day but he may recover in time to play some part against Norwich. Danny Guthrie has resumed full training following a lengthy lay-off with a calf problem as has Jem Karacan (knee), but the fixture is likely to come too soon for these two. Jamie Mackie (hamstring), Anton Ferdinand (calf), Hope Akan (shoulder) and Pavel Pogrebnyak (also calf) are all out.

Norwich: Ryan Bennett made his first return to the matchday squad for 3 months following an ankle injury when he was named on the bench for the Canaries 6-1 win over Millwall on Boxing Day. Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (knee) is unlikely to feature while Carlos Cuellar is a major doubt. Alex Tetley missed the win over Millwall but could return to the squad.

Prediction: Reading 1-2 Norwich