Leeds United look to record their second successive home win as they return to Elland Road for the visit of Reading. The Royals travel to West Yorkshire on the back of an impressive 3-0 win at home to promotion favourites West Ham and Brian McDermott's men will be keen for his team to put another three points on the board. Reading's inconsistent form is similar to that of Leeds who go into this clash after struggling to get a draw last time out away to Watford. United did stretch their unbeaten run to three games though and Simon Grayson and co will be keen to get the win which will see the Whites comfortably in the play off places on Christmas day. Both sides are looking for their fifth win in seven games but Reading have only beaten the Whites once in twelve league meetings, while six of the ties have been drawn, Leeds have won five.
There is plenty to ponder for Leeds boss Simon Grayson but one decision that has been made for him is the return of Andy Lonergan. United's number one hasn't featured since Leeds' 3-0 away success at Doncaster in October but Alex McCarthy, whose loan was extended for a further month this week, is ineligible to play against his parent club. Grayson insisted Lonergan is raring to go when he told the club's official website: "Lonners is 100 per cent fit and available to play, He's had some good training sessions, he's played in the reserves and if I'd have selected him last weekend at Watford he would have been fit to play" Said the Boss. Lonergan's place in the side is by no means guaranteed and the former Preston shot stopper will have to perform well in order to keep McCarthy out of the side at Derby on Boxing day.
Other players hoping to force their way into the side include Ross McCormack, Michael Brown and Mika Vayrynen, the latter came off the bench to win United a last minute penalty last weekend at Vicarage Road.
Reading are likely to be without tricky winger Jimmy Kebe who was injured in the win over West Ham last week however Keeper Adam Federici and Noel Hunt should both feature for the Royals. Other players on the sidelines for Reading include Brynjar Gunnarsson and Nicholas Bignall.
One to Watch:
Reading are a team full of talent and tricky wingers but Jobi McAnuff is a man that has been the sword in United's side in the past. It was his goal at Elland Road for Crystal Palace in march 2006 that helped to begin United's poor run of form which would ultimately resulted in Play off failure at the hands of Watford at the Millenium Stadium. McAnuff, who started his career at Wimbledon has since had spells at West Ham, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Watford and now Reading. The dangerous winger has also been capped by Jamaica and made an impressive 92 appearances in his first two seasons at Reading where he is now an integral part of a side which reached the play off final last campaign. The winger who not only has an eye for goal but can also create chances for his team mates has been captain this season after the departure of Matt Mills to Leicester and will be looking to halt Leeds' promotion charge once again on Saturday afternoon.
I am feeling quite confident about this game, it's the last game before Christmas and hopefully the players will be ready to give the fans some Christmas cheer. Reading will be hard to break down but hopefully there will be goals in a fixture that ended goalless on both occasions last season and hopefully the goals will go to us. I'm sure Ian Harte and co will be ready to get one over on us but I think we will win 2-0.
Last Six Meetings:
23rd April 2011 - Leeds United 0-0 Reading
27th November 2010 - Reading 0-0 Leeds United
15th April 2006 - Leeds United 1-1 Reading
29th October 2005 - Reading 1-1 Leeds United
12th February 2005 - Leeds United 3-1 Reading
20th October 2004 - Reading 1-1 Leeds United