In a repeat of last year's tie, Reading are travelling to Huddersfield in the third round of the FA Cup. Reading will be hoping to match the result they got last year, where it set them on their way to the first semi final for 88 years.
This weekend they are price at best price at 9/5 to come away with a victory, with Huddersfield the favourites at 6/4.
A replay has been price up at 12/5. Although Huddersfield come into the game "in form" having picked up 10 points in their last 6 games (With 7 coming in the last 3), they have had a "soft" run of games, with their wins coming against a beleaguered Bolton side, and a comfortable win against Preston (who despite their defensive record, do still sit in 17th place). They also have drawn against a QPR side who have looked out of sorts since JFH took over.
I would give Reading the slight edge this weekend if I was forced to pick a winner, however, looking at the odds this week without knowing how either manager is going to try and line their team up makes judging odds on this game a tough proposition.
However, one area which Reading have certainly improved upon in recent weeks is at the back. Despite losing two of the four games that McDermott has managed, Reading have only conceded three times in that period, and scored only 3. The goals vs Brentford were both scored from the edge of the area/outside the area. Reading are still struggling going forwards as well, and with that, the under 2.5 goals at 4/5 I think is worth a bet.
McDermott has been praising Matej Vydra all week since his "match winning tackle" last week against Bristol City, with him set to be the clubs probable number one striker unless a replacement is signed, odds of 15/2 for him to score first look solid, especially now that Reading have sold Blackman, who used to be on penalties.
Up For The Cup?
Overall, Reading are 250/1 to win the FA Cup, 125/1 to make the final (a much better bet than the bet to win, as this would essentially say Reading would be evens to win in a final at Wembley, likely against a Premier League club). Reading are 33/1 to match last year's exploits and make the semi final, and 12/1 to reach the last 8. I think a small bet on Reading reaching the last 8 isn't the worst bet to make. Reading have made the last 8 3 times in the past 8 years, and a McDermott side which never give up to the final whistle is ideally suited to cup football it would seem.
Away from the FA Cup this weekend, looking at the Championship, you can now get Reading to be promoted at 33/1, which is huge odds given the 5/1 they were at one point this season to be promoted. However, the odds of 10/1 to make the top six that are on offer may be worth a look. If McDermott can "sort the side out" in the next 4-6 games, the squad is talented enough to at least challenge for the playoffs now.