Stoke City - Reading Preview: Royals are unbeaten in four



Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson Kightly, Adam, Nzonzi, Etherington

Kelly, Harte, Mariappa, Pearce
Akpan, Leigertwood
McCleary, McAnuff, Kebe

Ex-Liverpool man Charlie Adam should start as could Michael Kightly, with Pulis looking for more attacking options going forward. Michael Owen and Kenwyne Jones are both pushing for starting berths up front.

Marc Wilson remains out with a broken ankle and is not expected to return until the end of February.

Brek Shea is available to make his debut after receiving international clearance following his deadline day move, but will first have to overcome a foot injury.

As for the visitors, Brian McDermott may well name the same starting XI that beat Sunderland 2-1 in their previous match. This would mean another start from the off for January arrivals Stephen Kelly and Hope Akpan.

Pavel Pogrebnyak is likely to get another chance to lead the line with Nick Blackman still adjusting to life in the Premier League, and super-sub Adam le Fondre again likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy remains sidelined with a shoulder problem, with veteran striker Jason Roberts (hip) also still unavailable.


  • Stoke have the third-worst scoring record in the league - having found the back of the net just 24 times. Only QPR (18) and Aston Villa (23) have scored less.

  • Tony Pulis’ side have drawn 12 league matches this season - the joint-most with Everton.

  • The Potters have only won one out of their last 10 Premier League games - a 3-1 win over Liverpool on Boxing Day.

  • The previous meeting between the two sides earlier in the season finished 1-1. Michael Kightly fired the Potters ahead before Adam Le Fondre (pictured right), netted a late penalty.

  • Reading have taken more points from their last seven Premier League games (14) than they had in their opening 18 matches (9).

  • Royals boss Brian McDermott and forward Le Fondre won January’s Premier League manager and player of the month respectively.

  • Le Fondre managed a staggering five goals in just 89 minutes of league action in January - with all his appearances coming off the bench.

  • A win for the visitors would make it five wins from their last seven Premier League matches.

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