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Reading V Wigan at Madejski Stadium : Match Preview
Updated published : 22 Feb 2013 18:01:20Rss feed
Reading V Wigan - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Kebe could return for Reading
Reading manager Brian McDermott is hoping to have Jimmy Kebe fit in time for the visit of fellow Barclays Premier League strugglers Wigan to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
The Mali winger missed the fifth-round FA Cup defeat to Manchester United with an unspecified injury but has returned to training this week ahead of the clash with the Latics.
Mikele Leigertwood had to be replaced after an hour at Old Trafford after suffering a knock and is a doubt whilst Jason Roberts (hip) and Alex McCarthy (shoulder) are still missing.
McDermott has defended his team's style of play amid claims they have resorted to scrapping tactics to survive in the Barclays Premier League.
The Royals have taken 10 points from the past 15 on offer and could move out of the bottom three with victory over fellow strugglers Wigan on Saturday.
With their recent surge has, however, come criticism - most notably from Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner.
After the Royals beat Sunderland 2-1 earlier this month Gardner claimed the match "wasn't football, it was a fight".
But ahead of a crucial relegation battle at the Madejski Stadium, against a Wigan team feted for their passing style, McDermott denied his side were merely a bunch of bruisers looking to avoid the drop.
"I can only talk about what I see and we play football the way we have to play. We don't see ourselves as a long-ball team," he said.
"We're out there to watch. Everyone has their opinion on how we play.
"We know how we try and play; we try and get it down and pass the ball. If we have to go long, we'll go long.
"When Man United play they mix it up, they go short, they go long.
"That's what all the best teams in the world do."
Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz could return after almost six months out injured when the Latics travel south.
The centre-back has not played for Wigan since August after tearing a groin muscle on international duty with Paraguay but is back in full training and could play some part.
Winger Ryo Miyaichi could also be involved following his recovery from an ankle injury while defender Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) was on the bench for the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield last week and is pushing for a start along with young striker Callum McManaman.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is well aware of the importance of the clash - but insists it will not determine their Premier League fate.
Since beating the Royals in a dramatic 3-2 win at the DW Stadium in November, Wigan have won only once in 13 league games and have slipped to second from bottom in the table.
Reading sit one place above the Latics and defeat at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow would leave Martinez's team at least five points from safety with 11 games to play.
Even with their track record of recovering from desperate situations over the past few seasons, things would look bleak.
However, Martinez is wary of hyping up tomorrow's match too much, saying: "We're working towards a points tally.
"I think sometimes you get carried away and you think this is a vital game and if you win you get three points, but that doesn't guarantee you'll achieve your aim.
"In the same manner, if you lose and then go unbeaten until the end of the season, you'll achieve your aim. It is an important game but what's more important is that we can be consistent. It is a vital game because it's one of 12 games left, nothing else."
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