Reading V Preston - Match Preview

Last updated : 25 October 2002 By Rob Cooper
The Royals currently lie just four points adrift of the holy grail that is the play-off places. A good result against the Lilywhites at Deepdale tomorrow afternoon could push the club closer to a top six spot.

Following the departure of David Moyes at the back end of last season Preston appointed former Scotland boss Craig Brown as manager.

However, it hasn't been all plain sailing for the Lancashire side who have recorded an incredible eight draws in their opening thirteen matches.

The match is sure to be a tough one for Alan Pardew's side, Deepdale is an intimidating place to play. Also, Brown's side have made a habit of snatching points that seem lost with a series of last minute goals.

Reading should welcome Andy Hughes back into the team as he has recovered from a back injury that kept him out of last Saturday's win over Ipswich.

He could replace James Harper despite the fact that the 21-year-old put in a tremendous display in Hughsey's absence. The chances are that both will be accomodated in Alan Pardew's 4-5-1 formation.

Rougier remains a doubt after breaking his toe in last weekends victory but Pardew is confident that he should be fit to play.

The Royals boss told Reading World: "We'll have to see how Rougier goes in training, but I don't really see there being a problem to be honest."

Otherwise the side is expected to remain unchanged, although Sammy Igoe and Martin Butler could come off the bench after scoring braces in the 6-0 reserve win over Bristol City on Wednesday.

For Preston David Healy should partner Richard Cresswell up front as Ricardo Fuller is forced to sit out the game through suspension. Otherwise they are at full strength.

Predicted Reading Line-Up: (4-5-1): M Hahnemann; N Shorey, A Williams, M Upson, G Murty; J Salako, R Newman, J Harper, K Watson, A Hughes; N Forster