Writer: Boro 01
Date:Friday February 29 2008
Sat 1st March
Boro come into this league game after their first defeat since New Year's Day at Anfield on Saturday.
However, the side did progress to the FA Cup Quarter Finals on Wednesday evening, with an extra-time 1-0 victory over Sheffield United.
The Royals travel to Teesside on the back of seven straight defeats in league and cup.
The visitors have also only scored just one goal in their last six. Their recent run has seen them fall into the bottom three, and they currently languish a point from safety.
Boro are seven points above their opposition, and a win could see them extend their safety net over the relegation places to ten points.
Reading boss Steve Coppell believes his players have more than they are currently showing.
'Something has to change, but it's not like I'm keeping anything in reserve for a special occasion,' the former Manchester United midfielder said.
'I feel that we have a lot more potential within the squad than is being shown on a weekly basis,' he added.
Boro are set to welcome back centre-back David Wheater, after the local lad's suspension from his side's midweek victory over the Blades.
Afonso Alves could be set to make his first league start since his record deadline day signing at the club, while Robert Huth faces a race against time to recover from the injury that has kept him out for the past couple of games.
The Brazilian has been solid in recent games, proving to be the unsung hero behind his side;s good form. Appeared to tire towards the end of the midweek cup victory of the Blades, however, so one can only hope he maintains his super high standards of late.
Reading's woes continue as they travel up to Boro, and they will be missing some key players for this crucial game.
Michael Duberry (knee), Brynjar Gunnasson (groin), and Glen Little (heel) are all missing for the Royals, although Ivar Ingimarsson and Andre Bikey are set to return.
The Irish midfielder holds the key to success for the Royals. Has attracted attention from many top sides in recent months, and can be a thorn in the side of defenders when on song.
This game is Boro's 4,000th league match, and the team are on a run of one defeat in ten in all competitions.
The visitors are the only side without a Premier League point in 2008, and have failed to score in two on the road. Defeat on Teesside would mark this as boss Steve Coppell's worst run as a manager.
The Royals won their first ever top-flight game against Middlesbrough at home last season.
If selected, midfield man Julio Arca would make his 50th apperance for the club, while Luke Young will be making his 250th career start.
Howard Webb - The referee is many people's top official in the league. In 18 league games thus far this campaign, the ref has shown 56 yellow and one red card.
After a battling display in midweek, there is a distinct possibility that the Boro will be feeling the effects still on Saturday. However, the confidence gained from their progression in the cup, combined with Reading's atrocious recent form, gives great hope for the home side. Boro 1-0 Reading
Sunday 9th March - Cardiff City (H) - FA Cup Quarter Final
Date:Friday February 29 2008
Mowbray wants more backbone (Thursday May 23 2013)
Boro can still attract talent (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Boro off to the coast (Monday May 20 2013)
Boro gunning for teenager (Monday May 20 2013)
Skipper admits to struggle (Saturday May 18 2013)
Defender looks ahead (Thursday May 16 2013)
We'll be ready says Boro man (Thursday May 16 2013)
Search continues for Mowbray (Monday May 13 2013)
Young talents could be loaned (Monday May 13 2013)
Boro track midfielder (Wednesday May 8 2013)
|13. Leeds Utd||46||17||10||19||-9||61|
|18. Sheff Wed||46||16||10||20||-8||58|
|Behold, Team GB.
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