With little left to play for this season you can almost forgive Fulham for already having their feet firmly planted on the beach. The Cottagers haven’t won in the six games since beating QPR on April 1st to safeguard their Premier League status and are playing like a team that already has its mind on sipping sangria and dipping their toes in the Mediterranean. Although a top-half finish is still within reach they must end a goal drought that has yielded one goal in their last four games.
Reading can also approach the run-in free of pressure after their fate was sealed last week as relegation was finally confirmed following a goalless draw at home to QPR. That leaves the Royals playing purely for pride in their final three top-flight fixtures before they drop back into the Championship less than a year after achieving promotion. What their remaining games will give manager Nigel Adkins is an opportunity to assess his squad ahead of next season with the target a immediate return to the Premier League.
Fulham are without Mladen Petric (hamstring) and the suspended Steve Sidwell, but can call upon top scorer Dimitar Berbatov after he shook off a calf problem. Sascha Riether (ankle) is also available.
Hope Apkan (ankle) is hoping to feature for Reading while goalkeeper Adam Federici has also recovered from an ankle knock. A groin injury prevents Jimmy Kebe from playing.
What the managers said…
We will always find players like Mladen Petric or Hugo Rodallega. But, of course, it’s not easy. I think we had five new players in, so it’s not easy to settle. I’m satisfied we’ve got the points to be safe, although I’m a bit disappointed we couldn’t get more points in the last few weeks and gone even higher.” Martin Jol is already looking towards potential summer transfer targets for Fulham (Express)
“Anyone who knows me will tell you I want to win every game of football that we play in. The players have worked hard on the training ground, we’ve got over last week and there’s a hunger and desire to keep improving. We’ve got three games left in this campaign and we’ve got to do everything we can to give ourselves an opportunity to get that winning feeling again.” Nigel Adkins believes Reading need to regain that ‘winning feeling’ (readingfc.co.uk)
Pre-match Statistic: Reading have tasted defeat in 11 of their previous 12 away matches, including the last five in a row.
Prediction: Fulham 2-0 Reading