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Reading preview

When and where:
Monday 11th September 2006, Madejski Stadium

Current form:
City have improved results wise as the season has progressed since the opening day defeat, and undoubtedly turned in the best performance in the victory over Arsenal. Reading have slipped to two successive defeats away from home, but opened the season with a home victory against Middlesbrough.

Team news:
Didi Hamman is in contention for his first start since arriving at the club and Hatem Trabelsi is also pressing claims to be involved. Darius Vassell has joined Isaksson on the sidelines and DeMarcus Beasley is not yet considered.
Graeme Murty and Dave Kitson will be big losses for Reading, but Ibrahim Sonko returns after serving a one game suspension.

Keys to the game:
A main key will be which side performs well after the international break as it is now two weeks since either side played. Readings attack - particularly Lita and Doyle look impressive and City's sound defensive start will need to continue. Corradi and Dickov showed early signs of a decent partnership against Arsenal, but the introduction of Hamman will be a key element in the make up of the City side.

City link:
Former manager Steve Coppell - who had the briefest of tenures at Maine Road, will go up against City for the first time since his departure.

Why City will win:
City will take a lot of heart from the victory over Arsenal and confidence is currently good in the side. Reading, I think, will look to come forward and this suits their approach far better than teams who set their stall out to defend.

Why City will lose:
Reading started well at home and are capable of winning games in the Premiership, and we have yet to post back to back victories in 32 Premiership games.

Reading 1 City 2