Watford’s hopes of Premier League football next season could receive a substantial boost with a win over 16th place Reading on Saturday afternoon.
Only goal difference separates the Hornets from a spectacular view at the top of the Championship table – a place currently occupied by Bournemouth who sit on 66 points alongside Derby County, Watford and Middlesbrough.
Reading have endured a disappointing season under former West Brom boss Steve Clarke, but are unbeaten in their three matches in all competitions. A 0-0 draw against giant-killers Bradford sandwiched in between a 1-1 draw against Bolton Wanderers and a 2-1 win over Brighton means the Royals are yet to be beaten in March.
However, Slaviša Jokanović’s Watford have won seven out of their last 10 league fixtures and will be hopeful of bruising Reading’s promising run of form.
The promotion chasers are hopeful that midfielder Abdi and striker Ighalo will be available after struggling with respective hamstring injuries whilst defender Tommie Hoban will miss the clash after being shown a red card against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.
Reading are awaiting international clearance for new signing Zat Knight who will bring plenty of top-flight experience to Clarke’s side. The former Fulham and Aston Villa defender joined as a free agent following a short stint in the MLS.
Defenders Alex Pearce (broken nose) and Anton Ferdinand (calf) are likely to miss the trip to Vicarage Road.
Head to Head
Watford ran out 1-0 winners at the Madejski Stadium in Decemberm. Reading are unbeaten in their last three outings to Vicarage Road, winning the last two. Watford’s last victory over Reading on home soil came in April 2010. They won 3-0.
WATFORD: Gomes (GK); Motta, Ekstrand, Cathcart, Pudil; Watson, Guedioura, Tozser; Abdi; Vydra, Deeney (C).
READING: Andersen (GK): Travner, Keown, Knight, Cooper, Akpan, Guthrie, Taylor, Stacey, Cox (C), Yakubu.