Everton v Reading
Assistant manager Steve Round says that Marouane Fellaini has a ‘good chance’ of being involved after missing Tuesday’s win over Oldham Athletic, while Victor Anichebe’s fitness will also be checked following the striker’s two-game absence through injury. Tony Hibbert remains on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from calf surgery.
Jason Roberts is again expected to miss out with a hip problem. The former Blackburn Rovers striker, 35, was last in action in Reading’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton at the start of December. England Under-21 international Alex McCarthy is sidelined with a shoulder complaint, so Adam Federici will play in goal. Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is suspended after being sent-off against Wigan, meaning top scorer Adam Le Fondre could step up from the substitutes’ bench to spearhead the attack.
Last outing: Everton 3-1 Oldham Athletic, Tuesday 26 February, 2013
Last six: WDLDLW
Everton put an end to their four-match winless run after brushing past Oldham in midweek. David Moyes will now want his team to carry that momentum into the weekend as the Blues go in search of the their first Premier League victory since taking maximum points off West Bromwich Albion at the end of January.
Last outing: Reading 0-3 Wigan Athletic, Saturday 23 February, 2013
Last six: WDWLLL
With 11 matches left to play, Reading find themselves embroiled in the thick of it at the bottom of the Premier League table. Only Queens Park Rangers sit below them in the standings, although the Royals are just one point adrift of 17th place Wigan Athletic. Form at the Madejski Stadium has been a source of positivity but 10 defeats from 13 away fixtures highlight where Brian McDermott’s problems lie.
Reading 2-1 Everton, Saturday 17 November 2012
Everton were victims of a second-half comeback when they travelled to the Madejski Stadium last November. Steven Naismith put the Blues in the driving seat with a seventh-minute tap-in but the contest swung in the Royals’ favour courtesy of Adam Le Fondre’s double. The former Rotherham United striker headed Reading level on 50 minutes and then converted from the penalty spot 12 minutes before the end to send Brian McDermott’s side on their way to their first league victory since returning to the Premier League.
Everton 1-0 Reading, Saturday 9 February 2008
The history books show there have only been nine previous meetings between Everton and Reading. One of those games was in February 2008 at Goodison Park when a Phil Jagielka goal was enough to separate the two sides. The central defender scored a 62nd-minute header to condemn Steve Coppell’s team to a damaging seventh straight defeat. Reading were eventually relegated on goal difference at the end of the season, ending their two-year stay in the top flight.
Everton have won the last three matches played on 2 March, arguably the most famous of which was at Old Trafford in 1991 where goals from Mike Newell and Dave Watson saw Howard Kendall’s side to a 2-0 victory. Kendall had replaced Colin Harvey as boss the previous November, returning to the Goodison Park hot-seat for a second spell. The Blues had been marooned in the lower reaches of the Old Division One table during the early months of the season but Kendall’s influence eventually helped guide Everton to respectable ninth-place finish.
The most recent player to have been on Everton’s books and have past links to Reading is Marcus Hahnemann. The American keeper, who was with the Blues last season but didn’t play a competitive fixture, spent seven years at the Madejski Stadium between 2002 and 2009. Former Toffees John Oster, Michael Branch and Martin Keown also represented the Royals during their playing careers, as did current Everton goalkeeper coach Chris Woods.
Referee: A Taylor
Assistant referee: S Ledger
Assistant referee: R Garfield
Fourth official: L Probert
Tickets for the visit of Reading are still available. To buy, click here, call 0871 663 1878 or visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square. For those who can’t make it to the game on Saturday afternoon, free live commentary will be available on evertonfc.com from 2.55pm.
Our official online betting partner Paddy Power are offering a range of odds on Saturday’s game. Here's our pick of the best:
Everton to win: 2/5
Everton to win 2-0: 11/2
1-0 Everton half-time/3-1 Everton full-time: 40/1
Everton to keep a clean sheet: Evens
The first goal of the game to be scored between 21st and 30th minute: 9/2