The Saddlers face the Royals in the FA Cup fourth round...
Saturday, 30th January 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Walsall will be hoping to reach the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since 2003 when they travel to Championship side Reading. The Saddlers have beaten three second-tier sides already this season - Nottingham Forest and Brighton in the League Cup, and Brentford in round three of the FA Cup. Walsall also knocked out Fleetwood and Chesterfield to reach this stage, while Brian McDermott’s Reading, who are 15th in the Championship, overcame Huddersfield after a replay in the last round.
Reading: 15th in the Championship – P28 W9 D8 L11 F32 A31 PTS35
Walsall: 3rd in League One – P27 W15 D8 L4 F45 A26 PTS53
LAST FIVE COMPETITIVE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
23rd January – Reading 1-1 Sheff Wed – Championship
Jake Cooper’s second-half header earned Reading a point against play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday. Gary Hooper had given the visitors an early lead.
Team:Al Habsi, Gunter, Ferdinand, Cooper, Obita, Evans (John 65’), Norwood, Williams, Piazon (Kermorgant 45’), Vydra, Robson-Kanu.
Subs not used: Bond, A Taylor, Hector, Cox, Keown.
23rd January – Walsall 1-1 Blackpool – League One
Walsall missed the chance to go top of League One after being held by relegation-threatened Blackpool. Jason Demetriou’s tap-in put the Saddlers ahead, but Danny Philliskirk scored a dramatic 94th-minute leveller to rescue Blackpool a point.
Team:Etheridge, Downing, O’Connor, Taylor, Demetriou, Mantom, Chambers, Forde, Henry (Preston 90’), Sawyers (Morris 89’), Bradshaw (Lalkovic 86’).
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Flanagan, Cook, Kinsella.
Reading wins: 22
Walsall wins: 28
28th December 2003 – Walsall 1-1 Reading – Division One
Nicky Shorey’s delightful free-kick earned Reading a battling point and denied Walsall back-to-back wins. Jorge Leitao’s first-half header put the Saddlers ahead but Reading equalised through Shorey’s curling free-kick on 70 minutes. Steve Coppell’s Royals almost snatched victory late on, but Nicky Forster’s goal was disallowed for offside.
Brian McDermott – The 54-year-old returned to the Madejski Stadium for his second spell as manager in December 2015. The ex-Arsenal midfielder, who has also managed Leeds, Woking and Slough, spent four years in charge of the Royals between 2009 and 2013. He was named the LMA Championship Manager of the Year in 2011/12 after leading Reading to promotion to the Premier League.
READING STAR MAN:
Matej Vyrda – The Czech Republic international is with Reading on a season-long loan deal from Watford and netted a second-half hat-trick in their FA Cup third-round replay victory over Huddersfield. The 23-year-old forward has also played for Udinese and West Brom, and was named Championship Player of the Year in 2012/13 after helping Watford reach the play-off final.
VIEW FROM THE READING CAMP:
Brian McDermott (on their draw with Sheff Wed) – "The first 20 minutes, Wednesday played really well. They scored a good goal and that's why they are where they are in the league. Over the last 60 or 70 minutes, we definitely deserved a draw but we probably should have won. When we got back to 1-1, I thought we would go on and win the game."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee. The Saddlers have no other injury concerns.
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers have not reached the FA Cup fifth round since the 2002/03 season.
SATURDAY’S FA CUP FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Colchester vs. Tottenham (12.45pm)
Arsenal vs. Burnley
Aston Villa vs. Man City
Bolton vs. Leeds
Bury vs. Hull
Crystal Palace vs. Stoke
Nottm Forest vs. Watford
Oxford vs. Blackburn
Portsmouth vs. Bournemouth
Shrewsbury vs. Sheff Wed
West Brom vs. Peterborough
Liverpool vs. West Ham (5.30pm)