Reading welcome league leaders Manchester United to the Madejski aware that points are needed quickly if they are avoid being cut adrift at the bottom.
The Royals still only remain four points off safety and four ahead of bottom-placed QPR, but having obtained their first win of the season over Everton a couple of weeks ago, Brian McDermott will be disappointed to have followed up that success with two straight losses at relegation rivals Wigan and Aston Villa.
McDermott will give late fitness tests to Jimmy Kebe and Danny Guthrie as they bid to make their returns from groin and thigh problems respectively, while full-back Chris Gunter is also struggling with a hamstring injury. Jem Karacan remains absent but should make a first-team return before Christmas.
Man Utd will be looking for an improved performance from the one that only brought a slender 1-0 victory over West Ham at Old Trafford in midweek. Up front, Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to continue with the potent combination of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, while they may be joined by either Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck due to doubts and absences of widemen Antonio Valencia, Nani and Shinji Kagawa respectively.
Elsewhere, captain and key central-defender Nemanja Vidic has boosted United by readying himself in line for a return in the Red Devil’s final Champions League group match.
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