FA Cup 3rd Round: Crawley v Reading
Saturday January 5
Broadfield Stadium, 3pm
If ever a game had all the elements of a cup upset, Broadfield Stadium is surely hosting it on Saturday afternoon. And, having battled their way to the fifth round in two successive seasons - succumbing to Stoke City and Manchester United respectively - and having lost at home to Swansea in the League Cup only to a 90th-minute sucker punch, Richie Barker's men will have no fear of hosting Premier League opponents for a big FA Cup afternoon.
Consistency has been the worry for the (other) Red Devils this season, but confidence isn't a problem. The visitors will have to keep a close eye on the goalscoring prowess of Billy Clarke and Nicky Adams in particular if they are to avoid a slip up here. A slip up, though, might be the very thing Brian McDermott needs right now. After a fairly decent Christmas period (four points from four, and only losing to Man City in the 90th minute) kept them treading water down the bottom of the table, the Royals have their sights set on league survival the moment. They are, therefore, more than likely to dip into the second string for the visit to West Sussex.
Expect to see the likes of Adam Le Fondre, Noel Hunt and Hal Robson-Kanu given a decent run out. Whether they can win is anyone's guess. Whether they want to win is another question altogether.