Premier League Preview: Fulham v Reading
Fulham will aim to give their hopes of a top-half finish a boost when they welcome already-relegated Reading to Craven Cottage.
Martin Jol’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat at Everton last weekend and have now gone five games without a win since beating local rivals QPR last month.
The London outfit head into this clash with a number of players on the sidelines. Steve Sidwell is still banned following his dismissal against Arsenal, while Ashkan Dejagah, Mahamadou Diarra and Simon Davies are all out through injury.
There is good news for Jol however, with the return of talented defender Sascha Riether imminent after he missed the game at Goodison Park after picking up a knock in the loss against Arsenal.
Riether’s comeback should boost a side who have gone off the boil in recent times and with little riding on this game, Jol will hope his side can return to winning ways against a Reading side that is already preparing for life in the Championship next season.
Nigel Adkins’ side’s relegation was confirmed following their goalless draw with QPR in their last encounter, and the former Southampton boss will be under no illusions of the challenge facing the Madejski Stadium outfit next season.
Still the visitors will hope to give their fans something to shout about before the end of the campaign, however that may prove difficult for a side that is without a win in their last 10 outings.
Midfielder Hope Akpan and goalkeeper Adam Federici could be in line for returns, but Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts are both still unavailable.
Fulham are far from invincible at home – they have lost seven times at Craven Cottage this season – and have fallen to consecutive home defeats against Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
However, Reading are not of the calibre of those two UEFA Champions League-chasing clubs, and although they fought back admirably to earn a 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture in October, it promises to be another long afternoon for the Premier League’s bottom club.
Thu 2 May, 2013