Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday April 26 2008
Every time Latics take on Reading it conjours up memories of that day in May in 2005 when a 3-1 Latics victory granted the club admission to the Premier League and top flight football for the first time in our history, for this reason alone I will always have a soft spot for Reading.
Todays game is not too dissimilar with Premier League football once again at stake and both clubs needing a win to ensure that they will still be in the top flight come August when the new season kicks off again.
Latics are handily place in 13th spot and needing a maximum of 3 points to absolutely guarantee safety though Readings position is a little more precarious, they find themselves just one point and one place outside the relegation places and whatever happens today, for Reading at least it will go down to the wire of the final game of the season.
Following an undefeated run of 6 Premier League home games (a record in the top division for Latics) we are favourites to take the points today and with only one goal conceded in that run it is with good reason that many punters will be putting this game down as a home win on their coupons.
Steve Bruce is looking to start celebrations if we win today and this will make the final two games away at Villa and at home to Manchester United a little less nervous, today should be a good game with two sides going for a win
Leading up to what is a massive game for both clubs lets see what the bosses have been saying
Latics boss Steve Bruce:
'This is the biggest game for a long, long time'
' It might not be a do or die, but we can finish the job off today'
'If we win I will be celebrating, I'm not one for waiting till the end of the season'
Reading boss Steve Coppell:
'The Fulham game was the one where everyone was saying 'win this one and you will be all right'. But sometimes the more you need to do something, the less creative you are.
'We have to perform before we can even think of the consequences. We have to concentrate on our performance on the day and forget about 'what ifs'.
'That may have been our downfall against Fulham, where it was very much 'if we win this one then this will happen' and the winning process went out the window.
'The winning process is what it is all about. Perform well and you will get good results; if you don't, you won't.'
Erik Edman is the only casualty today, both Bent and Heskey passed fit
Heskey is 2 goals away from a career 100 Premier League goals.
Today is Marlon Kings 28th birthday
Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Boyce, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios, Taylor, Bent, Heskey, Koumas, Skoko, King, Sibierski, Pollitt, Aghahowa, Bramble, Figueroa, Hagen, Olembe
It will be interesting to see if Valencia is affected by the speculation around a proposed £10 million bid from an unnamed club
Leroy Lita is back from his loan spell at Charlton and could feature, Jimmy Kebe is doubtful whilst Brynjar Gunnarsson is definately out.
Hahnemann, Federici, Murty, de la Cruz, Sonko, Bikey, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Shorey, Rosenior, Doyle, Oster, Little, Harper, Cisse, Matejovsky, Fae, Hunt, Convey, Kitson, Lita, Long.
Readings leading goal scorer with 9 this season, always a handful.
This seasons reverse fixture
Reading 2-1 Latics
Kitson 29, Harper 90...Bent 50
In 33 previous meeting between the clubs there have been 13 wins each and 7 draws
Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Games - 24
Yellows - 3
Reds - 75
Atkinson has refereed Latics twice this season:
Bolton 4-1 Latics
Latics 1-0 West Ham
Heart says Latics win 3-1
Head says Latics win 2-0
Either way Premier League safety secured
Aston Villa Vs Latics
Saturday 3rd May
Latics Vs Manchester United
Sunday 11th May
Date:Saturday April 26 2008
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