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Reading FC v Bolton Wanderers: Match Preview

Reading FC host Bolton Wanderers at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday looking to build on an encouraging away win at Norwich last time out; Phil Owtram rounds up all you need to know ahead of the match.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Reading FC v Bolton Wanderers
Football League Skybet Championship
Saturday 6th December 2014, KO 3PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: Keith Hill

Reading (14th)

Form (all comps): WLLWL
Norwich v Reading: 1-2
Cardiff v Reading: 2-1
Reading v Charlton: 0-1
Reading v Rotherham: 3-0
Blackburn v Reading: 3-1

Well that’s more like it! Reading recorded their first away win since August when beating Norwich 2-1 at Carrow Road last Saturday thanks to a brace from young defender Jake Cooper. It was a fantastic day for the 19-year-old who was a commanding presence in a position where Reading have struggled so much so far this season.

It had looked bleak early on when Norwich took the lead after 10 minutes when Gary Hooper turned in Nathan Redmond’s cross. There were 4 minutes of that familiar sinking feeling for the travelling fans before Cooper headed Reading level from a Oliver Norwood corner on 14 minutes.

He then headed his second ever senior goal for Reading on the stroke of half time when the ball was sent his way via a John Ruddy flap after a Jordan Obita corner. The Royals maintained the 2-1 scoreline throughout the second half to record just their second away league win this season.

Bolton (18th)
Form (all comps): WDWWL
Bolton v Huddersfield: 1-0
Blackpool v Bolton: 1-1
Bolton v Wigan: 3-1
Bolton v Cardiff: 3-0
Norwich v Bolton: 2-1

Bolton warmed up for this one with a 1-0 home win over Huddersfield last Saturday. Bolton top-scorer Craig Davies got the only goal to take his tally to four league goals and five in all competitions this season. This was Neil Lennon’s fifth win in the eight matches he’s been in charge of Bolton since taking over from Dougie Freedman in October.

Bolton are definitely a team in form and revived under Lennon and have recorded good wins over currently 8th placed Cardiff and 3rd placed Brentford in recent matches. They did however go down 2-1 to Norwich at Carrow Road at the end of October so that enhances Reading’s win at the Canaries last weekend and can give the Royals confidence going into this one.

Bolton have resigned former striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, 14 years after he left the club to sign for Chelsea. Eidur is a free-agent after being released by Club Brugge. The club are also assessing another 36-year-old and former Premier League regular Emile Heskey who is currently training with the club. The striker is a free-agent after being released by Australian side Newcastle Jets.

Last five meetings
18 Jan 2014 Reading v Bolton W 7-1 League Championship
10 Aug 2013 Bolton v Reading D 1-1 League Championship
02 Feb 2008 Reading v Bolton L 0-2 Premier League
25 Aug 2007 Bolton v Reading L 3-0 Premier League
21 Apr 2007 Bolton v Reading W 1-3 Premier League

Head to Head
In total these teams have met 29 times before in league and cup and it is Bolton that hold the superior record with 13 wins to Reading’s 11 with five ending in a draw. Reading’s biggest win over the Trotters came in January of this year when the Royals put seven past a hapless Bolton side with Adam Le Fondre bagging a first half hatrick. Of the last five matches between these two teams at Madejski Stadium Reading have only lost once a 2-0 defeat in February 2008.

Team News
Reading: Anton Ferdinand has aggravated an injury to his calf muscle and will not be available for Saturday’s game. Alex Pearce is however available after serving his one match suspension against Norwich for his red card against Cardiff.

Danny Guthrie will not be available and has been at St George’s Park, the home of English Football, receiving specialist treatment in the hope he will be able to resume first-team training in the near future.

Jamie Mackie is also out (hamstring), along with Pavel Pogrebnyak (calf), Hope Akpan (shoulder) and Jem Karacan who is back training on grass but still not ready to return to action.

Bolton: Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan is available again after playing 90 minutes for the U21s this week while David Wheater has recovered from a back injury to be available for selection. Kevin McNaughton is out with a hamstring injury while Mark Davies and Marc Tierney have long-term injuries.

Prediction: Reading 2-2 Bolton