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Key Battles: Bristol City v Reading FC

A tough away game awaits the Royals, as they aim to kick off 2017 with a win against Bristol City. Here are the key battles ahead of the clash.

Tammy Abraham is Bristol City's main threat
Tammy Abraham is Bristol City's main threat
Harry Trump/Getty Images

Tammy Abraham vs Liam Moore

19-year-old Tammy Abraham has been in sensational form since signing on loan from Chelsea in the summer. In my view, he has been one of signings of the season in the Championship, with the striker netting 15 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions for The Robins this season.

From taking a look at the goals in which has scored, Abraham is a real fox in the box, a striker looking to feed from low crosses or profit from mistakes made by goalkeepers. Abraham is also a real threat in the air due to the height that the young lad possess.

The best person to deal with this threat would be Liam Moore — the centre-back has played a huge part in Reading's revival under manager Jaap Stam forming a brilliant partnership with Paul McShane. However, the Reading defence has come into question in recent weeks, with the Royals conceding 11 goals in five games.

This is something that will need to improve, if the Royals are to start 2017 on a high and contain a striker who will punish any slack defending.

Here's a video of Tammy Abraham showcasing his talents in a Bristol City shirt.

Lee Tomlin vs Chris Gunter

Tomlin, who completed a permanent switch to Aston Gate in the summer following a loan spell from Bournemouth, has made a solid impact so far this season since putting pen to paper on a three year contract. So far during the current campaign the 27 year old has four goals and six assists in 23 Championship appearances, making him one of the first names on manager Lee Johnson's team sheet.

Last season whilst on loan, Tomlin scored six goals and got two assists in 18 appearances, as Bristol City finished 18th with the same points as Reading (52).

Playing on either side of midfield and down the middle, Tomlin has played a pivotal role in Bristol City's season and without his creativity, it could be argued that the Robins would be further down the league.

The former Middlesbrough and Bournemouth player has the ability to create something out of nothing and will also be looking to supply Abraham with chances to test Reading goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

Looking to Tomlin quiet will be Chris Gunter. The Welshman has had a solid season so far, however the right back has struggled against talented wingers. Anthony Knockaert, Matt Richie and Albert Adomah are all players that he has had problems against.

It will be Gunter's job to stop the low crosses from finding there way in the penalty area, with Abraham looking to take any chances coming his way.

Gunter will therefore need to be at his very best, as Bristol City look to end their five game winless run.

Scott Golbourne vs Garath McCleary

The 28 year old who completed a move from Wolves in January 2016 has nailed himself down as Bristol City's first choice left back.

There is some history between Golbourne and Reading with the player joining the Royals from his current club in 2006 before being released after making six appearances.

The game will therefore be a significant one for Golbourne, as he looks to make a point against his former employers.

However, the full back has only kept two clean sheets in the 13 appearances that he's played in a Bristol City defence that has conceded 31 goals so far this season.

Looking to take advantage of this will be Garath McCleary, who has been in stunning form this season with eight goals and six assists for the Royals.

The right winger has been a different player this season under Jaap Stam with the Jamaican adding goals, as well as supply and creativity to his game.

McCleary will have to be at his very best, if Reading are to come away from Aston Gate with all three points. This will mean that he will need to cut inside, run at his opponent, but also take an chances that come his way, if feed through on goal. This is something in which he didn't do in the abandoned game against Fulham, with the Whites keeper David Button denying him, after Yann Kermorgant sent McCleary through one on one.

This is something that McCleary and the rest of the Reading players will need to improve on, if they are to achieve promotion to the Premier League and start 2017 with a win.

Here's McCleary's man of the match performance in Reading's 3-2 win at Blackburn a few weeks ago.