Reading V Bardford City - Match preview

Last updated : 21 March 2003 By Rob Cooper
By Oli Sumerling

The Royals travel north to Bradford this weekend in a match that could be a crucial one for both sides in terms of Play-Off aspirations and relegation worries respectively.

Alan Pardew's side will be going all-out for a victory against lowly Bradford City in order to make amends for their midweek defeat at Ipswich Town.

Reading will be without Luke Chadwick who has returned to Manchester United before his loan deal is extended next week. Any one of Kevin Watson, Ricky Newman, or Sammy Igoe could come into a reshuffled midfield.

Chadwick will be back in time for the match at home to Brighton, but this is nevertheless an opportunity for a few players to give Pardew a reminder of their presence.
Following a brace in the reserve-team match against Wycombe earlier this week, Jamie Cureton is also looking to force his way back into the Pardew's plans, and is amongst the 18-strong match squad for Bradford. However, due to the success of the 4-5-1 formation, it is unlikely he will get a starting berth.

John Mackie will sit out the second of a three-match suspension meaning Reading could again find themselves short at the back.

Adie Williams, who is yet to play this month, is fighting to get over his knee ligament injury. He will face a late fitness test. Should he not recover in time to play then Adi Viveash, who was sent off at Ipswich in the week, would retain his place in the starting line-up.

Steve Brown would then wear the captain's armband for the third game in succession.

When Reading met Bradford at the Madejski Stadium in October Nicky Shorey's first, and so far only, goal for the Royals gave Alan Pardew's side a well-deserved victory.

The Bantams were a shadow of the side that had played Premiership Football 18 months previously and could have well been beaten four or five nil had the Royals managed to play a better final ball.

Bradford, meanwhile, have suffered several injuries to key players, including talismanic striker Ashley Ward, who will miss out after breaking a rib in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.

With former-Everton man Danny Cadamarteri still injured, Danny Forrest is likely to partner Andy Gray up front for the Bantams.

Further injuries to Andy Myers, Wayne Jacobs and Luis Emanuel may see Bradford boss Nicky Law revert to a 3-5-2 formation to cover for the loss of left-sided players, something which may or may not suit the Royals five-man midfield.

A win tomorrow would leave the Royals three wins short of the points needed to secure a Play-Off place, but a loss and Ipswich could narrow the gap still further. The pressure then really would be on.