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Premier League preview: Everton v Reading

Everton will be seeking their first league victory in four attempts when they host struggling Reading in the English Premier League.

Everton will be seeking their first league victory in four attempts when they host struggling Reading in the English Premier League.

David Moyes’ team have had a largely disappointing February, drawing at home to Aston Villa and losing away to Manchester United and Norwich in the league.

They were also held to a 2-2 draw away to lowly Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup fifth round, before beating the third-tier outfit 3-1 in a replay at Goodison Park on Tuesday.

Everton are at home again this weekend, and will be strongly favoured to pick up all three points against Reading, who are in trouble at the wrong end of the table.

Promoted as Championship winners last season, Reading are second bottom on the Premier League standings, and have managed just one win from their last five outings in all competitions.

Strong form earlier in 2013 means Brian McDermott’s team still have every chance of escaping the bottom three – they are six points clear of last-placed Queens Park Rangers and just one point back from the safety of 17th spot.

But a run of three successive defeats, 2-1 away to Stoke City, 2-1 at Manchester United in the FA Cup and 3-0 at home to Wigan in the league, is worrying, and they must begin picking up points again soon to revive their survival hopes.

McDermott has close to a fully fit squad to choose from, but Reading’s few absentees are significant.
Russia international striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is suspended until March 30, while veteran forward Jason Roberts is sidelined indefinitely with a hip problem.

The club’s promising young goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has been out since November with a shoulder problem.

For Everton, fullback Tony Hibbert (calf) is the only confirmed absentee, while key midfielder Marouane Fellaini (foot) and striker Victor Anichebe (knock) should be fit.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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