News and Views

Royals Look To Progress In FA Cup

25 January 2013
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading will be looking to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend as League One Sheffield United visit the Madesjki Stadium. The Royals are likely to field a strong side to continue the momentum that has seen them pick up four wins from the last five games. That run included the third round victory over Crawley Town. Brian McDermott has used strong cup runs before to fire Reading up the league table, and a victory would help keep Reading's relegation battle going strong.

After Adam Le Fondre keeps coming off the bench to score vital goals, he is expected to make a start. However, everyone will be keeping an eye out for Jimmy Kebe who hit the headlines this week after declaring he had signed for Newcastle United on a four year contract. Kebe left it just long enough for the papers and news agencies to pick it up and report it as fact before letting everyone know it was just a wind up. Jimmy Kebe. He does what he wants. Dave Kitson is also earning some column inches as he makes return to Reading, this time in a Sheffield United shirt. Kitson - obviously - had his best years at his favourite club, Reading, but has managed six goals already this season for United and will be keen to add that back at the Madejski.

The two sides have shared plenty of meetings in recent history, frequently being in the same Division. However, recently United have found themselves relegated to the third tier and seen their promotion campaign grind to a halt. The Blades have managed just one win out of their last five games - and that was their 3-0 away victory at Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup. Meanwhile, the Royals are starting to put an excellent run together in their bid for Premier League survival. Reading have won 11 and Sheffield United have won 10 out of the last 26 meetings. United won the last FA Cup meeting between the two sides - 0-1 in Sheffield in 1998, but Reading had a 2-0 home victory in the League Cup in the last knock-out fixture in October 2005.

A link between the two sides is Chris Armstrong, the popular full back who was forced to retire in 2011 after playing while suffering from MS. A fan campaign has seen widespread support for a standing ovation for Chris in the third minute of the game, after he wore the number 3 shirt for both sides. Everyone in the stadium is being encouraged to show support for the player after he made big contributions to both clubs. Unfortunately Chris won't be at the game to see the mark of respect.

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