Struggling Reading will be desperate for three points when they play host to West Brom in Saturday’s Premier League action.
Reading have won only twice in the league this season, their second a
vital 1-0 success over West Ham at the Madejski Stadium on December 29.
Reading, second bottom of the table with 13 points, tackle a West Brom side that have lost their past two Premier League matches, and were held to a 1-1 draw by Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on Sunday.
And Reading fans know there are significant battles ahead if they are to survive in the top flight.
The signing of former Sporting Lisbon skipper Daniel Caricco for 650,000 pounds on New Year’s Day will help.
The 24-year-old midfielder is hoping manager Brian McDermott will play him against West Brom.
“I hope I can pull on the Reading shirt in the next game. It will be a dream come true,” he said.
Meanwhile, West Brom’s Republic of Ireland international Shane Long is relishing his return to the Berkshire club for whom he signed as a teenager.
Now 25, Long will line up for only his second appearance against the side that gave him his start.
“It will be strange to go back and play against them and be in the away dressing room, but I’m looking forward to it,” Long told getReading.co.uk
“It was probably one of the first games I looked for when the fixtures came out at the start of the season. The first priority is getting three points for West Brom.
“If I scored a hat-trick I wouldn’t celebrate any of the goals, but first things first, I want to get West Brom as high up the table as possible and hopefully Reading will win every game after that.”
West Brom make the trip without Hungary midfielder Zoltan Gera who has been ruled out for the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 1-1 draw at QPR on Saturday.
One striker looking forward to the clash will be Romelu Lukaku who has scored seven goals this season as West Brom, currently seventh, have pushed up the table to become serious challengers for a European place.
The Belgium international is on a season-long loan deal with West Brom from Chelsea.
He was subject to a January recall clause, but that option expired on Monday, which means Lukaku will stay at The Hawthorns.