Reading v Swansea: Pablo Hernandez could return for Michael Laudrup
Last Updated: 24/12/12 12:36pm
Pablo Hernandez: Could be available again after a thigh injury
Reading head into back-to-back home fixtures over the Christmas period knowing that it is now or never if they are to escape the clutches of Premier League relegation.
A controversial, last-gasp defeat against champions Manchester City on Saturday extended their run of defeats to seven and ensured they remain marooned at the bottom of the table, six points from safety.
Yet the festive period has brought the offering of hope, with Brian McDermott's side welcoming Swansea City to the Madejski Stadium on Boxing Day and then West Ham United on December 29.
Neither appear easy games on paper - Swansea are 11th and West Ham 12th - but both teams are winless in their last three and Swansea at least will head to Berkshire slightly short of form.
Reading are also tougher to beat at home than it may first appear. The hapless thrashing at the hands of Arsenal aside, their only other defeats at the Madejski this season were against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
That is not to say Swansea won't be hoping for three points. Michael Laudrup's side have often been at their most potent on the road, with a 2-0 triumph at the Emirates Stadium at the start of December being their third away win of the season.
And although that was their last victory after what has been a trying month, they will have been buoyed by holding Manchester United to a hard-fought 1-1 draw on Sunday.
They also know they can rely on one of Europe's hottest forwards to deliver goals against the Premier League's leakiest defence, with Spanish sensation Michu having taken his league tally for the season to 13 with his strike at the weekend.
Veteran Reading striker Jason Roberts (hip) is again missing as Swansea City visit the Madejski Stadium.
The 34-year-old has missed the Royals' last three games, but is close to regaining fitness.
Defender Sean Morrison (ankle) is still sidelined and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) is out long term, but Reading have no fresh injuries from the weekend loss at Manchester City.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup may rotate his squad for the trip to Berkshire.
The Dane hopes to have winger Pablo Hernandez available after a thigh injury, but Angel Rangel is set to miss out again with a calf problem.
Ki Sung-Yueng could come back into the side after Kemy Agustien was handed a starting role against Manchester United on Sunday.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Federici
- 2 Gunter
- 5 Pearce
- 15 Hector
- 11 Obita
- 12 McCleary
- 23 Williams
- 6 Norwood
- 9 Robson-Kanu
- 19 Mackie
- 7 Pogrebnyak
Team taken from Reading vs Charlton Athletic (Sky Bet Championship) on Saturday 21st March 2015
- 1 Fabianski
- 26 Naughton
- 33 Fernandez F
- 6 Williams A
- 3 Taylor
- 24 Cork
- 4 Ki
- 8 Shelvey
- 23 Sigurdsson
- 18 Gomis
- 15 Routledge
Team taken from Swansea City vs Aston Villa (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 21st March 2015
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||30||42|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||30||33|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||30||22|
Reading v Swansea
Michael Laudrup felt Swansea dominated at Reading but they are now without a win in their last four matches. Top scorer Michu limped off late on.
Reading boss Brian McDermott was upbeat after his side's 0-0 draw with Swansea at the Madejski Stadium.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is hoping Michu will be back soon after suffering an ankle injury against Reading.