Reading V West Brom at Madejski Stadium - Match Preview

Duo in line for debuts

New Reading signings Daniel Carrico and Hope Akpan are set to make their debut in the Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom.

Jason Roberts continues to be troubled by his hip problem, while Hal Robson-Kanu is a doubt with a knee injury. Mikele Leigertwood could also miss out with an unspecified knock.

Alex McCarthy is making encouraging progress following shoulder surgery and should return before the end of the season.

Carrico's first act upon hearing of Reading's interest was to use the internet to find out the location of the city - and was pleased to learn of its proximity to Heathrow.

Former Portugal Under-21 midfielder Carrico signed for #650,000 on New Year's Day after falling out of at Sporting Lisbon, where he had progressed through the same academy that produced Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, and was eager to listen to offers from England.

When Reading came calling he wasted little time in agreeing to the transfer, but only having done some research on his destination.

"One month ago my agent told me of Reading's interest and I was really glad to know," he said.

"Obviously I wanted to move as soon as possible because I wanted to play in the Premier League.

"When I knew Reading were interested I looked on the internet about the city and the club.

"I had to see where Reading is and the first thing I noticed was that it's close to London and Heathrow, which was another point that made me feel good.

"Now I'm beginning to get to know the area. Reading town centre is small but nice.

"I like the atmosphere and I've found a nice house close to the training ground."

Reading manager Brian McDermott believes he has made an important signing.

"Daniel was captain of Sporting Lisbon and they're a massive club so he's not fazed by anything. He likes to get on the ball and pass it. He can play centre half as well," he said.

West Brom are challenging for a European spot but manager Steve Clarke will not contemplate such targets until the 40-point safety mark has been achieved.

Clarke said: "Albion want to be challenging in the top half of the table more often than not.

"Albion have built well over the last two or three years and we are in a strong position just now.

"Rather than us thinking about the fact we are playing teams down the bottom of the league, it's more for us to try and keep our noses in front of the teams that are trying to catch us up.

"Is Europe a possibility? Yes, I think I should make Europe at the end of the season for a holiday!

"Listen, we just keep working and working. The first target was 40 points. We haven't reached that yet.

"Maybe when we reach 40 points, I'll answer questions on Europe."

Clarke wants Albion to recapture the fluency that was the trademark of their performances during the early part of the campaign.

He said: "I think the month of December was a little bit up and down. We had good and bad spells.

"I think it is important we try and get back to a similar rhythm to what we had earlier in the season. I think we've lost that. We are not quite as fluent as we were.

"But we've shown in games in December, like against West Ham, Norwich and QPR, that we can go and dig out results without playing particularly well."

Source: PA

Source: PA