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Who wants to play Fulham right now? The answer is nobody. But by virtue of an impressive 3rd placed finish in the Championship, that task falls to Reading.
Beating Fulham over 2 legs in the play-offs looks a really hard task on paper, but one thing Reading have in their armoury that perhaps other sides have been lacking lately is a true attacking intent. Fulham will pile pressure on Reading at every opportunity. However, on the break Reading will be so dangerous and will feel confident of registering at least a couple of goals themselves.
Reading, despite keeping their momentum up, and finishing 3rd, have not had the hardest of tasks in recent weeks and so are in danger of being surprised by the level of opposition they find themselves up against here.
The former Bolton and Wigan man has been in inspired form and will need to pull out all the stops if he is to keep Fulham from getting on the score sheet this time.
If Reading are to win, they need to show guts. However, Gunter getting forward with regularity will undoubtedly result in more chances for Fulham and so for once, he may need to stay disciplined. The twin threat of Sessegnon and Malone on this side will be enough to curtail his forward momentum.
Reading’s back three have it all to do. McShane and co may be pulled apart by Fulham, who have attacking threats coming from all angles.
Taking the responsibility of the central role, it may pay for Moore to simply keep tabs on Ayite and allow his teammates to track the others. Failure to do so may result in this central defence getting out of shape.
Aluko and Cairney may be his main challengers and he will do well to watch them both.
Like Gunter, Obita may need to keep his discipline here and not venture forward as much as normal.
Staying as close as possible to Johansen may be the way to go for Evans, though it must not be forgotten that goals are still important for his side too.
If he could mark Cairney out of the game, he will have taken Reading forward a step single-handedly.
With Obita perhaps pegged back, Kelly may ghost into wider areas and perhaps get in behind Fulham when Fredericks is caught up the field.
May well get the nod considering his past with Kermorgant. Scored last time and has the pace to trouble Fulham’s central two.
Mr. Reliable will play again and his unflappable nature could be crucial. This may well be one chance, one goal type of scenario for the Frenchman.