Cottagers Confidential: How much does the previous result against Fulham worry you going into this match?
The Tilehurst End: It's never easy going into a game when you've been humped 5-0 just a few weeks prior, then again the only way is up right? I think you'll be up against a much stronger Reading side this time around, with our best defender in Liam Moore back and fingers crossed our most creative presence in the middle in John Swift, not to mention a more physical presence up front in Yann Kermorgant. Fulham have some top quality players and the win against us was no fluke, but those injury returns plus home advantage and hopefully 11-men on the pitch should equate to a much different contest!
CC: Do you expect to be making many changes in January?
TTE: Everything hinges on an impending takeover by a Chinese pair of investors. If that goes through in time then who knows what will happen. Stam certainly wants to be busy and has made little secret in his admiration for players like Jordan Mutch and Scott Hogan. Yet if that deal doesn't get done then I think we'll have to be much more thrifty and sneaky to bring in a few, like a new striker and maybe a new defender.
CC: Do you still expect to be in the top six when the season ends?
TTE: The EFL did an interesting table recently showing that 90% of teams third on Christmas Day finish inside the top six. If ever there was a candidate to be the 10% its us BUT if we get lucky with injuries and do add a couple than I see no reason we can't hang on in there. My traditional nervous side says we'll implode but my logical brain and my eyes tell me this is a team that has done it for half a season so there's no reason they can't continue to do so.
CC: Could you predict a lineup and scoreline?
TTE: Reading to win 2-1
Al-Habsi, Blackett, Moore, McShane, Obita, Evans, Williams, Gunter, Swift, McCleary, Kermorgant.