Reading’s task of ending their winless run of seven games in all competitions gets no easier on Saturday, as they prepare to host Everton.
David Moyes’ men sit in fourth place on the Premier League table, having suffered just one league loss in 11 matches to be in the Champions League places early in the season.
Conversely, Reading have not won since their 3-2 triumph away to QPR in September, despite leading in five of their seven games in all competitions since – including coughing up a 4-0 lead over Arsenal in the League Cup.
They are three points deep into the relegation zone, but have a game in hand on nearby Aston Villa, not that that would be of great relief to boss Brian McDermott.
What McDermott would be pleased about is the likely omission of Everton striker Kevin Mirallas to a hamstring injury, with the former Olympiakos man credited with one goal and two assists in his first season in the English top flight.
Also sidelined for Everton will be Victor Anichebe (knee) and Tony Hibbert (calf), while Darron Gibson (groin) is reportedly a possibility to return to the matchday squad.
For the Madejski Stadium side, goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) will miss, meaning Australian shot-stopper Adam Federici should retain his spot after keeping a clean sheet in their 0-0 draw with Norwich City.
Jem Karacan (knee) is also on the sidelines, while former Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie (thigh) is a chance to return for the Royals.
Reading have had eight different goalscorers in the 12 they have scored during their winless run, meaning they have certainly had enough avenues to put the ball in the back of the net – but it is at the back where they have struggled.
They should fancy their chances of at least scoring against Moyes’ men, as Everton have not kept a clean sheet in their past seven games in all competitions – and have only kept sides out twice in 11 Premier League games this term.