In all honesty, it’s not a particularly good time to be playing Southampton but Reading have been given the task of knocking the Championship leaders off their perch this evening.
The newly-promoted Saints are five points clear at the summit and confidence will be through the roof after beating nearest rivals West Ham in midweek in front of a record St Mary’s crowd of 32,152.
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In contrast, the Royals have had a disappointing start to the season and currently lie in 14th place on 16 points.
To be fair to Brian McDermott’s men, they are only four points adrift of Ipswich in sixth but after being beaten play-off finalists last time around, many were expecting Reading to be much higher up the table at this stage.
In team news, the Royals will welcome Jobi McAnuff back into the side for the Saints clash after the former Watford winger missed his side’s 2-2 draw against Derby with an ankle injury.
Jay Tabb, who is still recovering from concussion suffered in the 1-0 win over Burnley, is a doubt at this stage but boss McDermott will give him as long as possible to prove his fitness.
There is some positive news, however, with Jimmy Kebe coming through 70 minutes of his comeback unscathed following a knee injury.
Southampton’s main injury concern will be over star midfielder Adam Lallana ahead of the trip to Berkshire.
Lallana has missed Saints’ last two games with a foot injury but they will be hoping their talisman will declare himself fit for the live TV encounter at the Madejski Stadium.
Fellow midfielder Jack Cork dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s 1-0 win over West Ham and may return to the starting line-up.
You can catch the action at 17:20 this evening and with Nigel Adkins’ Southampton in such scintillating form, Reading will have to recapture their form from last season to have any hope of halting the Saints juggernaut.