Reading V Sheff Utd at Madejski Stadium - Match Preview

Roberts to sit out Blades tie

Reading are without striker Jason Roberts (hip) for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round clash against Sheffield United.

Midfielder Jem Karacan suffered an unspecified knock in training but should be fit, while goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) and midfielder Hope Akpan (cup-tied) are unavailable.

Striker Adam Le Fondre could start after scoring two vital goals as a substitute in the Royals' 2-1 Barclays Premier League win over Newcastle last weekend.

Mikele Leigertwood hopes another FA Cup run will boost Reading's chances of staying in the Barclays Premier League.

Despite an upturn in form of late, Reading are still among the favourites to be relegated to the npower Championship after just one season in the top flight.

Leigertwood remains hopeful the Royals will stay up, but he admits a cup run could prove key to that happening.

The Reading midfielder fondly remembers his cup run with the then-Championship side two years ago, when the Royals beat Everton and West Brom before exiting the competition with a 1-0 quarter-final defeat to eventual winners Manchester City.

Reading's cup run that year coincided with a nine-match winning streak that eventually took them to the npower Championship play-off final, and Leigertwood hopes the Royals can enjoy a similar bounce this season as they look to preserve their top flight status.

"The FA Cup run that year was good for us. It definitely helped our league form at the time and hopefully we can put a good run together this season," Leigertwood told a press conference.

"We beat some good teams - Everton, West Brom and we had a tough game at Stevenage.

"We went out against Manchester City and we gave a good account of ourselves there. It definitely helped our league form."

Recent history suggests Reading are primed for a decent FA Cup run.

As well as their exploits in the 2010-11 season, they also reached the quarter-finals the previous campaign, achieving a historic win at Liverpool on the way.

Such famous victories have been hard to come by this term as Reading have struggled to adapt to life back in the top flight, where they sit just inside the bottom three, one point from safety.

But Leigertwood revealed that one of the ways the squad boost their morale is by watching clips of their exploits in the cup that year, when they also beat West Brom.

"I wasn't at the club (for the 2009-10 run), but all the lads talk about it," Leigertwood said.

"Sometimes we watch videos and look back at the clips (of the win at Anfield). We have a look at inspirational videos just to look back at the good things and just to give us a bit of inspiration."

Sheffield United defender Marcus Williams is hoping to return from illness to face his former club Reading.

Williams, who joined the Blades from the Royals on a free transfer in January 2012, missed last week's draw at Notts County, but could be back in contention, while Darryl Westlake should continue if he fails to make it.

Manager Danny Wilson has no new injury or suspension worries, but is currently short on defenders as Neill Collins (fractured cheekbone), Matt Hill (broken jaw) and long-term absentee Lecsinel Jean-Francois (knee) are all sidelined.

Striker Shaun Miller is out for the rest of the season due to knee ligament damage and although goalkeeper Mark Howard has returned to training following a long-term thigh injury, he is not ready for first-team action so George Long will continue.

Source: PA

Source: PA