Reading take a break from league action this afternoon as they face Watford in the FA Cup!
Considering the number of absentees the visitors currently have, Slaven Bilic will probably put out a weakened side and Paul Ince may also be reluctant to play some of his key first-teamers.
Both sides’ supporters will want to see an entertaining game though - and it’s an impossible one to call ahead of kick-off considering the Hornets’ injury list. On paper, Bilic’s men would probably be expected to win in normal circumstances but the Royals have a real chance to capitalise on the visitors’ current situation and book their place in the fourth round.
Who do you think will come out on top in this tie?
What? FA Cup Third Round
Where? Select Car Leasing Stadium
When? Saturday 7th January
Opposition Manager? Slaven Bilic
The Last Meeting
Watford 2-0 Reading
Starting XI: Boyce-Clarke, Guinness-Walker, Abbey, Dann, Moore, Abrefa, Leavy, Mbengue, Camara, Long, Azeez
I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this. We could put out a very strong lineup - but we’ll be ruing the decision to include key players in this game if one of them gets injured. With relegation still a possibility, there’s no point risking anyone.
Dean Bouzanis may deserve an opportunity to start - but it would be good to see Coniah Boyce-Clarke given a go. He was linked with Premier League sides not so long ago, so it will be interesting to see whether he can shine in this game.
Nesta Guinness-Walker starts again to give him another opportunity to develop further. People need to be patient with him - and I hope he’s given an adequate amount of pitch time to make further improvements to his game. He’s still reasonably young and shouldn’t be written off.
Scott Dann and Liam Moore come in as the experienced duo alongside Nelson Abbey in central defence, with the latter making his Championship debut earlier this season. Kelvin Abrefa starts on the right to give Andy Yiadom and Junior Hoilett a rest. Hopefully we can get Naby Sarr on at some point though.
In the middle of the park, it would be interesting to see Amadou Mbengue in that role alongside Kian Leavy who may get the opportunity to put himself in the shop window ahead of a potential loan move.
Mamadi Camara has shown flashes of real quality when given a chance to shine at a senior level and could be a game-changer today, with Femi Azeez and Shane Long starting up top.
It would be good to see the likes of Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Lucas Joao feature at some point though.
Score Prediction: Reading 0-1 Watford
Here are my score predictions for other Championship sides involved in FA Cup action today:
Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Birmingham City
Preston North End 1-2 Huddersfield Town
Blackpool 1-3 Nottingham Forest
AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Burnley
Chesterfield 0-3 West Bromwich Albion
Fleetwood Town 1-2 Queens Park Rangers
Hull City 2-1 Fulham
Ipswich Town 2-1 Rotherham United
Middlesbrough 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Millwall 1-1 Sheffield United
Shrewsbury Town 1-3 Sunderland
Coventry City 2-0 Wrexham
Luton Town 1-1 Wigan Athletic