Struggling Royals host Cottagers.
Pre-match focus is again likely to be on Reading striker Jason Roberts, whose high-profile refusal to support the Kick It Out campaign has made headlines this week. But once the game gets underway, the Royals will de desperate to secure their first Premier League win of the season against a Fulham side who look more dangerous than they have done in years. Dimitar Berbatov will again support Mladen Petric in a clever-looking front-line, while the in-form Damien Duff will look to cause Nick Shorey problems down the right flank. Pavel Pogrebnyak, playing against his former club, is likely to have a point to prove and should be the dangerman for the home side.
Venue Madejski Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Last season n/a
Referee Mike Jones
This season’s matches 5 Y20, R0, 4.00 cards per game
Odds Reading 17-9 Fulham 8-5 Draw 18-7
Subs from Federici, Taylor, Morrison, Gunter, Pearce, Hunt, McCleary, Tabb, Church, Robson-Kanu, Harte, Roberts
Doubtful Hunt (heel)
Injured Karacan (knee, 3 Nov)
Form guide LDDLLL
Disciplinary record Y8 R0
Leading scorers Hunt, Pogrebnyak 2
Subs from Somogyi, Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Kasami, Karagounis, Ruiz, Richardson, Diarra, Kacaniklic, Na Banga, Trotta, Smith, Dejagah
Doubtful Ruiz (groin)
Injured Davies (hip, Jan), Frei (groin, unknown)
Form guide WDLWWL
Disciplinary record Y5 R0
Leading scorers Duff, Petric 3
CaughtOffside Predicted Line-Ups
These clubs have registered five wins apiece in the last 10 league meetings at Reading.
There has not been a draw in the last eight league meetings between these sides, with Fulham winning five.
Don’t bet on a red card. Reading have committed the fewest fouls in the division (62) this season – Fulham have the second lowest tally (66) but have played a game more.
This is Reading’s worst start to a top-flight campaign, and their worst at any level since losing seven and drawing one of their opening eight Division Three fixtures in 1959.
One man has been particularly active: young goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has averaged a save every 21.4 minutes, making him the busiest keeper in the Premier League.
Should they fail to beat Fulham, it would mark the 13th time a team has failed to win any of its opening eight Premier League matches. Five of the previous 11 sides to endure that fate prior to this season went on to avoid relegation.
Reading and Southampton are the only Premier League sides yet to keep a clean sheet.
The Royals had the lowest pass completion in the division last weekend (67.5%).
Pavel Pogrebnyak scored six times in 12 league appearances for Fulham last season, including five goals in his first three matches.
Victory on Saturday would equal the club’s best ever start to a top-flight season. In 1960-61 they had the equivalent of 16 points from their first nine matches.
Fulham are six points better off than at the same stage last season.
Only the current top three sides have scored more Premier League goals than Fulham’s 16 and the Cottagers have the best shooting accuracy (58% on target) of any top-flight side
Dimitar Berbatov scored four goals in his last Premier League match against Reading, in Tottenham’s 6-4 home win in December 2007.
CaughtOffside Prediction: 2-2. We reckon the spoils will be shared in a four-goal thriller.