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Key Battles: Reading FC v Bolton Wanderers

After yet another international break, Reading are back at the Madejski Stadium tasked with facing Bolton Wanderers. The Royals seek their first since the 1-0 victory over Charlton on 17th October. Steve Clarke, after making a U-turn from joining Fulham yesterday, will be desperate to make amends against a Bolton Wanderers side languishing second-from-bottom in the Sky Bet Championship.

Nick Blackman vs David Wheater

Frustrating as it is to repeatedly see me focus on Blackman as our one-to-watch, Reading have offered little threat from elsewhere in recent fixtures. We're all desperate to see a change in fortunes to resume our good form from late September to early October. One major cause of this is the fact that Nick Blackman is the only player at the moment that looks likely to lead a revival.

Bolton's 6ft 5in centre-back David Wheater is Bolton's response to Blackman's threat. Wheater has played 80 times since joining the Trotters from Middlesbrough four years ago, only seven of those appearances have been in this season's Championship. The 28 year-old has not been on the winning side so far this season as Bolton's only win came against Wolves in September when he was injured. If Blackman plays as well as he has done recently, Wheater should not provide too much competition. This will hopefully mean the start of a revival for Blackman due to a small goal draught recently.

Oli Norwood vs Darren Pratley

After five games without a victory, Norwood will be aching to control the midfield as he has done so well when on form. It will be an interesting battle to watch Norwood against Bolton's captain Darren Pratley. Pratley was made club captain following former Royal Matt Mills' move to Nottingham Forest in the summer and has been at the heart of Bolton's midfielder almost ever since. Pratley was a catalyst for Swansea in 2011 and some fans may remember his goal from the half-way line in the Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest and also came on as a second-half substitute in the Play-Off final against Reading. Pratley can be likened to a traditional centre-midfielder - energetic, box-to-box and hard in the tackle. Oli Norwood will have to be at his best going forward and on the defensive to overcome the threat Pratley brings to his team.

Chris Gunter vs Stephen Dobbie

Reading's first choice right-back Chris Gunter will have to keep a close eye on former Blackpool and Swansea forward Stephen Dobbie this afternoon. Stephen Dobbie has scored an impressive 94 goals in 287 League appearances in his career and will again pose a threat to Reading's defence.

Gunter, on the other hand, has been in less-than-impressive form of late. The Welshman has, however, remained strong when under threat from pacy wingers and tricky midfielders. He has played an impressive 14 games with Squawka giving him a performance score of just 115 - Paul McShane has 370, Oli Norwood has 541 and Nick Blackman has 541. Gunter will need his electric pace to deal with the threat of Dobbie.


Hopefully Reading can pull out a good performance against Neil Lennon's side at 3pm today and resume the good run of form from early last month. URZ!