Reading v Cardiff. Return to the Madejski

Last updated : 11 November 2004 By Michael Morris
My first visit to Reading was back in 1998 when on a cold and frosty evening City lost out on penalties at Reading's old ground, Elm Park.

The game was an FA Cup 4th round fixture. City needed two matches and extra time to beat Slough in round 1, then a home win over Hendon in round 2. Then City beat Oldham at Ninian Park in round 3. Round 4 was a home tie with Reading. That ended 1 - 1. The replay went through 90 then 120 mins and then a penalty shootout. Craig Middleton was the unlucky man to miss the decisive penalty that night.

Since then the Biscuitmen (they only became the Royals in 1976) have moved to the fine Madejski Stadium. The first two visits for City teams were successful trips with maximum points gained each time. In 2000 Jason Bowen scored City's winner against his former club in a 1 - 0 win for Cardiff (report here).

City ended up relegated and it was two seasons later when the teams met again. This time the hero was Leo Fortune West with a brace as City won 2 - 1, (report here).

Alas it was not to be third time lucky. Last season a Peter Thorne goal had given Cardiff a deserved lead but the game turned and Reading beat City in their new ground for the first time. The final score 2 - 1 to the home side (report here).

This Saturday the home team will be massive favourites to win the game. Reading sit in 3rd place, 15 points and 15 places above City. Depending on what happens to Ipswich this weekend Reading could be in an automatic promotion place. City though are on a run of 7 league games without defeat. 5 of those matches have been draws and I would be happy to come away from Reading this Saturday with a point.

Team news will follow on Friday but Lennie is thinking of mixing up the defence. Darren Williams will return at right back for sure. Tony Vidmar covered against Portsmouth and I think Lennie will want to keep Vidmar in the side. That could be at the expense of James Collins which in my view would be harsh on the young defender. We may not find out until just before kick off who Lennie's opts for alongside Danny Gabbidon. Chris Barker obviously at left back.

The rest of the team picks itself unless there are any injuries. McAnuff, Boland, Kavanagh and Ledley in midfield with Lee and Parry upfront.

Reading are in fine form at home. Seven wins and two draws for the nine games played. If only City could have turned the draws against Leeds, Leicester and Rotherham into wins, we'd be a lot closer to Reading than we actually are. The last 10 league games for either side show

Reading W6, D3, L1 pts 21
Cardiff W3, D5, L2 pts 14

City have got to start getting some more marks in the W column.

Kick off on Saturday is at 3:00pm. City have sold the initial allocation of 2,000 tickets with more now available. Please remember to respect the minutes silence at Saturdays game in memory of the victims of the Reading rail crash last Saturday which included a Reading season ticket holder.