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Author

Ed Lewis

Ed Lewis writes

Posted Sunday, December 24th 2017

Big Match Preview: Reading

City host Jaap Stam's Reading in their penultimate home game of 2017.

Lee Johnson's side will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions, while the Royals will hope to bounce back from successive defeats.

Here's a look at City's Boxing Day opponents.

FACTFILE

Formed:1871
Nickname: Royals
Website: www.readingfc.co.uk
Twitter: @ReadingFC
Ground: Madejski Stadium
Capacity: 24,161

Honours:
Second Division winners (Championship) – 2005/06, 2011/12
Third Division winners (L1) 1925/26, 1985/86, 1993/94
Fourth Division winners (L2) - 1978/79

Last season:

Championship: 3rd (lost play-off final to Huddersfield Town)
FA Cup: 3rd round, lost to Manchester United
EFL Cup:  4th round, lost to Arsenal
Top scorer: Yann Kermorgant, 19 goals
Average attendance: 16,636

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

The Berkshire outfit are one of the oldest clubs in English football but didn’t make their top flight debut until 2006. They have been homed at various grounds, notably Elm Park for more than a century, before the Madejski Stadium was built in 1998.

The Royals rose up the ranks, joining the Football League in 1920 and enjoyed pre-Second World War cup successes.

After the war, Reading again rose to prominence with high-place finishes in the third division but it wouldn’t be until the turn of the century that they would enjoy their best period of honours. This included a 13-game unbeaten run from the start of the 1985/86 campaign, a feat not matched by any team since.

The Royals have featured in the Premier League across three seasons, finishing eighth in the division ten years ago and they have not dropped lower than the Championship since 2002. They mounted a strong promotion challenge last year before suffering the heartbreak of a play-off final defeat on penalties to Huddersfield Town. Despite lingering around mid-table at Christmas, the Royals are determined to kick on up the league again this season.

JAAP STAM WON THE TREBLE AT MANCHESTER UNITED IN HIS FIRST SEASON WITH THE CLUB

MEET THE GAFFER - JAAP STAM

The Manchester United legend is now into his second term as Royals boss.

His first season in charge proved a successful one, as he led his side to third in the Championship only to suffer heartbreak in the play-off final at the hands of Huddersfield.

A formidable central defender during his playing days, he spent three years at Old Trafford during which he won three consecutive league titles, one FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the treble-winning 1999 season.

Since he hung up his boots a decade ago, the former Dutch international has won the Eerste Divisie with PEC Zwolle and helped Ajax take the top tier title in his native country.

BARROW IN ACTION AGAINST CARDIFF CITY

STAR MAN - MODOU BARROW

Gambia international Barrow helps carry Reading’s attacking threat. Armed with pace and a player who is technical on the ball, the 25-year-old forward has proved tough opposition and has helped himself to six goals this season – leading the Reading scoring chart.

He’s a player of Premier League quality and has further Championship experience with the likes of Swansea City, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United.

scott murray celebrates city's fourth goal

MEMORABLE FIXTURE - BRISTOL CITY 4-0 READING

Goals:  Beadle 35, Thorpe 39, 68, Murray 70

City demolished their Reading counterparts 4-0 at Ashton Gate, en route to the Auto Windscreens Shield final against Stoke City.

City scored two quick-fire doubles, in either half, with Tony Thorpe grabbing a brace. Peter Beadle had opened the scoring with Scott Murray added the icing on the cake in the second half.

It was their second victory over the Royals in the 1999/2000 season. City would go on to beat Exeter City 5-1 over two legs in the area final, before losing 2-1 to Stoke in the final at Wembley.

City: Mercer, Bell, Millen, Clist, Hill, Murray, Tinnion (Brown 87), Burnell, Holland (Hewlett 22), Beadle (Spencer 82), Thorpe. Subs not used: Testemitanu, Goodridge.

Reading: Howie, Bernall (N Smith 65), Hunter, Robinson, Grant (Hodges), Caskey, Parkinson, McIntyre (Scott), Williams, Forster, Butler.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Oliver Langford
Assistant Referees: Andrew Fox and Mark Pottage
Fourth Official: Dean Whitestone

Betting (via SkyBet)
City 17/20
Draw 13/5
Reading 16/5