CHRIS Hughton’s Norwich City tackle Reading in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday as they look to continue a recent run of four games without defeat.
Wins over Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City, and a draw with Aston Villa have seen Hughton’s Canaries rise to 14th in the table as well as securing a Capital One Cup Quarter-Final spot against Villa in December.
Reading meanwhile come into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, and are still in search of their first league win. They currently occupy 18th position, five points behind the Canaries, albeit with a game in hand.
Scoring goals has been no problem for the Royals, who put three past Fulham in a 3-3 draw in their last home league game, whilst they scored five in a remarkable 7-5 defeat to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup recently.
Unbeaten in three matches, Norwich head to Reading this weekend where they are 23/10 to add another victory with Bet Butler
Twelve of the last 19 Norwich away games have produced at least three goals and you can get 17/20 for the same again, though after recording two 1-0 victories in the last three games, you might fancy that scoreline at 11/1.
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Defensive pair Javier Garrido (knock) and Michael Turner (dead leg) are fit and available for Saturday’s game after going off injured in the 1-0 win over Stoke City. Hughton will be forced to wait and see on the fitness of Scottish international Russ Martin (back), whilst Harry Kane (foot) is still some time away from a return.
Reading pair Alex McCarthy and Danny Guthrie are both thought to be missing for the Royals, whilst Jem Karacan, who was sent off against City in 2010, is still facing a few weeks on the sidelines.
LAST LINE UPS:
CITY v Stoke
Grant HOLT (c)
Queens Park Rangers v READING
MANAGER: BRIAN McDERMOTT
Reigning LMA Championship Manager of the Year McDermott has been in charge of the Royals since January 2010 after a short spell as caretaker boss, and last season guided the side to the Championship title, securing a return to the Premier League. A former Arsenal and Cardiff City midfielder, 51-year-old McDermott is known for his attractive style of play, and if he can help his side rediscover the form that saw them win 15 of their final 19 fixtures last season, they will be a real threat.
ONE-TO-WATCH: JIMMY KEBE
Skilful winger Kebe will certainly be one-to-watch on Saturday when the Canaries head to the Madejski Stadium, having scored 27 goals for the club since joining from Lens in January 2008. The 28-year-old is a quick and tricky customer who is capable of putting in a dangerous cross, or cutting inside and shooting himself, so City’s full-backs will need to be at their best to stop the 6ft 1ins Kebe getting to the byline on Saturday.
Reading v Norwich City
|Reading wins||Draws||Norwich City wins|
City and the Royals have a close head-to-head record, with just two wins separating the teams. The Canaries came out on top last time the two met – goals from Henri Lansbury and Grant Holt securing a 2-1 win in February 2011. Earlier that season the teams played out a 3-3 draw at the Madejski in which Grant Holt saw red after scoring. The last time City secured a win away at Reading was in April 2004, when Phil Mulryne’s late strike sealed the 1-0 victory.
TOP LEAGUE SCORERS:
Grant Holt – Three league goals
READING: Noel Hunt, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Robson-Kanu – Two league goals
MOST LEAGUE STARTS:
CITY: John Ruddy
, Bradley Johnson – Ten league starts
READING: Kaspars Gorkss, Jobi McAnuff – Nine league starts
REFEREE: CHRIS FOY
Lancashire-based referee Chris Foy has taken charge of both Reading and Norwich once this season – Reading’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom, and City’s 0-0 draw with West Ham at Carrow Road. Foy is one of just six Premier League referees who have yet to produce a red card so far this season.