Reading FC will look to bounce back from Saturday's demoralising FA Cup third round exit at the hands of Kidderminster Harriers when Fulham arrive at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Tuesday (Kick-off: 8PM).

The Royals last won on home soil when they beat Barnsley on October 16th and the clash with the promotion-chasing Cottagers will prove a stern test to change that.

Team News

As has been the case for months now, under-fire Reading manager Veljko Paunovic will be without a host of players for Tuesday's game.

Long-term absentees Yakou Meite, Michael Morrison and Tom McIntyre will all miss the game while it's expected to come too soon for Lucas Joao and Ovie Ejaria.

Neither Alen Halilovic nor Felipe Araruna will be available to Paunovic after the duo suffered injuries in the defeat to the Harriers. However, those rested on Saturday including Andy Carroll, John Swift, and Junior Hoilett should all return to the squad.

Reading Chronicle: Felipe Araruna is expected to face a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. Image by: JasonPIXFelipe Araruna is expected to face a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. Image by: JasonPIX

Full-backs Andy Yiadom and Baba Rahman will miss Fulham and most of Reading's January fixtures as they are away with Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The visitors' on the other hand are expected to be able to field a nearly full-strength side with no fresh injury concerns although they are still dealing with Covid absences, the details of which manager Marco Silva has declined to comment on.

Form Guide

As all Reading fans know, the last month or two in Berkshire has been...rough. Just two wins in their last ten Championship fixtures has placed Reading in trouble, three points clear of the relegation zone.

Last five: DLDWL

Reading Chronicle: Tom Holmes reacts to Reading's 2-2 draw with Derby. Image by: JasonPIXTom Holmes reacts to Reading's 2-2 draw with Derby. Image by: JasonPIX

If there's one thing that Royals can take confidence from it's that Fulham's own form over the last months has been far from flawless. After winning seven on the trot between October and November, Fulham are winless in their last five - drawing four of them.

Silva's side did get back on track somewhat at the weekend with a 1-0 win against Bristol City in the FA Cup, their first game since December 20th due to Covid postponements.

Last five: LDDDD

Opposition Danger Man: Aleksandar Mitrovic

Not a particularly adventurous choice from us, Mitrovic is not only Fulham's biggest threat but likely the scariest opposition player in the Championship right now.

After struggling last season in Fulham's doomed Premier League campaign, Mitrovic has returned with a vengeance this term. The Serbian has already notched 22 goals and five assists in just 22 Championship matches this season.

Reading Chronicle: Mitrovic celebrates one of his 22 league goals. Image by: PAMitrovic celebrates one of his 22 league goals. Image by: PA

A clinical finisher and a nightmare to defend against in the air, Reading will have to stop Mitrovic if they are to get anything from this game.

Last Time Out: Fulham 1-2 Reading, September 18th, 2021

Ah, at last, some reason for optimism perhaps? While it will take a mammoth job to grab three points on Tuesday evening, at least the blueprint for success against Fulham is there.

On a bright September afternoon, Fulham held 65% of the ball while amassing 25 shots to Reading's eight. Yet, none of that mattered as Ovie Ejaria struck in the 19th and 53rd minutes to put Reading 2-0 up at Craven Cottage. A late Muniz Carvalho goal made things nervy, but Reading held out for a huge victory.

Reading Chronicle: Reading celebrate victory at Craven Cottage. Image by: JasonPIXReading celebrate victory at Craven Cottage. Image by: JasonPIX

Predicted Reading XI:

Southwood; Holmes, Dann, Moore, Bristow; Laurent, Drinkwater, Swift; Dele-Bashiru, Hoilett; Carroll

The big question for Veljko Paunovic will be what he does about the gaping hole Reading have at left-back. With Baba-Rahman off on international duty and no other recognised senior left-back in the squad, some tinkering will be needed.

One option could be a back five with Holmes sliding in as the third centre-back and Dejan Tetek operating at the right-wing-back role. Left-wing-back could then go to Junior Hoilett or even youngster Ethan Bristow who would have more support in a back five.

Otherwise, it will likely have to be Bristow at left-back or another player operating out of position. Many Royals would like to see a more adventurous team selection with two up top - what side would you pick?