Two Championship teams go head-to-head in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup when Reading travel to Pride Park to face a very strong Derby County outfit on Valentine’s Day. There will be no love lost between the two, however, and the visitors will be hoping an upset is on the cards.
Derby have been one of the dominant forces in the second tier of English football this season so Reading will have to work hard if they are to pull off a surprise victory against the team who knocked them out of the League Cup back in September.
Steve Clarke’s Royals have been on a good run of late which has seen them lose just twice their last nine fixtures in all competitions.
However, they still sit in fourteenth position on the table and are a massive 21 points behind their opponents who lie within a single point of the automatic promotion places.
Derby have found the back of the net on 23 occasions in their last 11 matches, of which they have won eight, and have only conceded seven times so they are very much the favourites to progress to the next stage of the cup.
Chris Martin leads the scoring for the Rams with 19 goals in all competitions but recent acquisitions Darren Bent, Jesse Lingard and Tom Ince will be out to show why they have been brought in on loan from their respective Premier League clubs.
Derby claimed the scalps of Conference outfit Southport and League One’s Chesterfield en route to the last 16 while the Royals have had a far more difficult road, overcoming Huddersfield and Cardiff.
Reading have been poor on their travels this season and have won just three times in the league while conceding more than double the number of goals scored so it will be interesting to see how they cope with a team against whom they have not won since 21 September 2013.