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Key Battles: Ipswich Town v Reading FC

A tough away fixture awaits, as the Royals face an Ipswich side with Mick McCarthy firmly under pressure. Here are the key battles.

All eyes will be on this man, potentiality making his debut
All eyes will be on this man, potentiality making his debut
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Tom Lawrence vs Reece Oxford

The Welsh International is currently on loan at Portman Road, having signed from Premier League champions Leicester and Lawrence has been one of the Tractor Boys best players in recent months, with the striker scoring four in his last five league games including some spectacular strikes.

It will therefore be down to the Reading defence to restrict Lawrence from getting into space and being able to get shots away, because if they don't then one of those shots will likely find its way past Ali Al-Habsi.

Looking to give Lawrence a hard time will probably be Reece Oxford. The 18-year-old signed on loan from West Ham on what was a dramatic deadline day with Jordon Mutch and Lewis Grabban also joining on loan. The centre back could make his debut in a back three with Tiago Ilori and Joey Van Den Berg both injured.

Oxford is one of the best up-and-coming English defenders for many years, at 16 he was given his West Ham debut where he kept Mesut Ozil  quiet throughout a win over Arsenal in a performance that still gets talked about today. The defender is also comfortable at playing out from the back and his height and pace is something that could be very effective against an out of form Ipswich side.

Cole Skuse vs John Swift

Playing in defensive midfield, Skuse's role is break up play and stop opposition players from getting on the ball and trying to create chances for their respective sides. However Skuse also has four assists in 28 league appearances meaning that he will need to kept an eye on when going forward.

Up against John Swift in the heart of the midfield, the 21-year-old has been in fantastic goalscoring form with three goals in four appearances. Goals that have won vital points for his side. Swift will not only be looking to be score, but create them whether that will be for Yann Kermorgant or new striker Lewis Grabban with his passing and his vision.

If Swift can help his team create chances then this gives the Royals a great chance of coming away with three points.

Christophe Berra vs Lewis Grabban

The Scottish International has been at the club for a while now having signed from Wolves in July 2013. Last season the defender kept 16 clean sheets for his side, as Ipswich finished 7th and five points outside the play-offs.

However this time around Berra and his fellow defenders have struggled, keeping just eight clean sheets so far and they conceding 37 goals. Ipswich also conceded three goals at home in their last fixture against Derby meaning the defence could be low on confidence heading into the game.

Looking to take full advantage of this will Lewis Grabban, the striker signed with just one hour to go of the transfer window, bringing an end to a dramatic deadline day.

Grabban is a proven goalscorer at this level having scored 22 goals in his first season in the Championship for Bournemouth and then 12 for Norwich the season after. The striker could make his debut for the Royals with Yann Kermorgant missing the 1-0 win at Birmingham last time out.

The Jamaican has pace to cause problems and is also known for being a fox in the box, with some history coming into this fixture having scored for Norwich in their 1-0 win at Portman Road back in August 2014. If Grabban can repeat history then this will go a long way in helping Reading push for the play-offs for the first time since the 2010/11 season.