Reading manager Brian McDermott maintains Saturday’s opponents West Brom represent a sizeable hurdle to their hopes of another strong FA Cup run, despite the visitors’ unconvincing form of late.
Tony Pulis’ men required replays to get past Bristol City and Peterborough United and set up a fifth-round tie at the Madejski Stadium, having taken just five points from their last five Premier League outings.
A Salomon Rondon winner was enough to claim maximum points against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday – a result that eased growing concerns over slipping into the relegation mire.
West Brom are unbeaten in seven FA Cup games against lower-league opposition since losing to Reading in the third round five years ago, and McDermott insists his side will need to impress this weekend.
“I went to see West Brom against Peterborough and watched them against Everton. We know what we are coming up against,” said the Reading boss, who will likely be without Danny Williams and former West Brom striker Matej Vydra due to hamstring troubles.
“This is a team who have got results over a period of time and a manager who knows how to get results. Tony Pulis is someone I have really admired over the years.
“He gets good results and he has done really well as a manager. He will play to the strengths of his team.
“They’ve got two players up top in Saido Berahino and Salomon Rondon who get it into feet and they can do stuff with the ball. And Stephane Sessegnon, Chris Brunt, Darren Fletcher, Craig Gardner are all boys who have got talent.”
West Brom will need to win away at Reading for the first time since January 1995 if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the second season running at the first attempt, while Reading went one better last term with a run to the semis.
Reading – 15th in the Championship – avoided top-flight opposition last season before bowing out to eventual winners Arsenal in the last four and will take on a West Brom side likely to be missing Gareth McAuley (hamstring).
“We want to have a memorable season and one of the ways to do that is to go as far as we can in the FA Cup,” added McDermott, who guided Reading to the quarter-finals in 2011 during a previous spell in charge.
“If we can get the result on Saturday we’re in the last eight of the FA Cup so we’re getting closer.
“Last year we got to the last four and 40,000 people turned up at Wembley and we’d love to have that opportunity again.”
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