Bottom-of-the-table Reading go in search of their opening win of the season as they host Newcastle on Saturday. Royals boss Brian McDermott will be desperate to claim his first three points of the season whilst Newcastle will look to maintain a good run of form which has seen them lose just once this season. It will also see Alan Pardew return to the Madejski Stadium where he spent four years in charge up to 2003 before his departure to West Ham United. History wise it is fairly level, the two clubs have only met four times in the top-flight, all Premier League games stretching from 2006 to 2008. Since then both sides have been up and down. Indeed their last clashes were in the Championship in 2009/10 when Newcastle did the double.
• Reading have conceded fewer fouls than any other team in the top flight this season (37).
• Newcastle have been fouled the joint-most times of any side in the top flight (70).
Reading duo Jason Roberts and Jimmy Kebe could make their first league appearances in a Reading shirt this season after a mixture of suspension and injury problems. Roberts will be given a late fitness test on his calf injury but is expected to make the bench, while Kebe will also be in the squad assuming he reacted well to a midweek run-out after a hamstring injury. After a couple of failed 4-5-1 experiments Brian McDermott is likely to stick with the 4-4-2 which has shown a marked improvement in the last couple of outings. It might be that Noel Hunt is preferred to Adam Le Fondre up top to partner Pavel Pogrebnyak, to shoulder some of the attacking burden. Elsewhere, Alex McCarthy looks set to continue in goal with Adam Federici still sidelined, while Nicky Shorey’s goal and assist in the cup win over QPR is likely to boost his chances of retaining the left-back berth.
A McCarthy • C Gunter, G Gorkss, A Pearce, N Shorey • K Kebe, D Guthrie, M Leigertwood, J McAnuff • N Hunt, P Pogrebnyak
Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini is out after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. The Argentina international defender, who started the 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United on Wednesday evening, is back on the treatment table and will not figure. Elsewhere, Cheick Tiote was handed a start at Old Trafford in midweek and should be given a starting berth for the Reading trip. His return is timely with Yohan Cabaye suffering with a mouth infection which could rule him out here. Keeper Tim Krul and full-back Danny Simpson are closing in on returns, but neither will make tomorrow’s game.
S Harper • J Perch, M Williamson, S Taylor, D Santon • H Ben Arfa, G Bigirimana, C Tiotè, J Gutierrez • P Cissè, D Ba