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Joao starts: The predicted Reading FC XI to face Huddersfield on Saturday

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Reading will be desperate to pick up all three points tomorrow afternoon as they face play-off hopefuls Huddersfield Town at the Select Car Leasing Stadium tomorrow.

Whilst the Royals may have the home advantage this weekend, it hasn’t exactly paid dividends in recent games in Berkshire, losing 7-0 against Fulham this calendar year in what was their record home defeat before losing 2-0 to Luton Town in midweek.

Although the former result was perhaps the most eye-catching, Wednesday night was just as torturing for fans who turned up expecting a reaction from their last-minute concession against Middlesbrough last Saturday.

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as they offered nothing against Nathan Jones’ side in midweek and look like they need a miracle to turn results around.

They come up against a side that have exceeded many peoples’ expectations after finishing in a lowly 20th place last term – recruiting well during the summer and vastly improving their fortunes despite the loss of one of last season’s key men in Isaac Mbenza.

Going unbeaten in their previous seven league matches going into tomorrow’s trip down south, will they be able to extend this run to eight?

It will take a big performance from the hosts to prevent that – but how will they line up tomorrow with a limited number of options to choose from?

We have made our prediction ahead of this one…

Luke Southwood starts again as the established first-choice shot-stopper – and although James Holden was his understudy in midweek – it would be a surprise if Jokull Andresson didn’t force his way onto the bench when he’s available.

Then again, the Royals were linked with Arsenal’s Karl Hein earlier and manager Veljko Paunovic has even admitted that he wants to bring a replacement in for Rafael Cabral who departed last week.

If fit enough, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Baba Rahman and Andy Yiadom come straight back into the lineup considering how much the second-tier side have missed the duo with their lack of squad depth in this position.

Their early return from the African Cup of Nations will be a real individual blow to them but a boost to their domestic side – and they will be crucial in picking up a point or three with their contributions both going forward and defensively.

At the back, a change in formation has to be implemented in a bid to change their fortunes, with Josh Laurent dropping back to help the centre-back duo from Wednesday in Michael Morrison and Tom Holmes.

Laurent has performed reasonably well at centre-back previously, especially in the away tie against Fulham earlier in the season. He will be hoping to replicate that performance after making a couple of costly mistakes recently.

The ex-Shrewsbury man dropping back means Tom Dele-Bashiru and Andy Rinomhota both revert back to central midfield as a new partnership – and one that many would be excited to see with tomorrow’s hosts needing a good shake-up in the middle of the park.

This pushes John Swift into his usual advanced midfield position – and he will be hoping to have a much busier game after going quiet in some recent games. It’s time for him to step up to the plate now as he did in the early stages of the campaign.

Ovie Ejaria also looks set to return but after being out for quite a while, it would be a surprise to see him start. A place on the bench could be on offer for the 24-year-old.

Adopting this formation allows Paunovic to play two up top, and although Jahmari Clarke will be tipped to start by some supporters, George Puscas is the man who’s likely to start ahead of him as a more senior option as Lucas Joao comes back into the lineup.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Joao starts: The predicted Reading FC XI to face Huddersfield on Saturday

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