Game 14 is approaching us, and the Seagulls unbeaten run is still going strong. A visit to the Madjeski has, in recent visits, proved difficult for the Seagulls and the visit on Saturday to Reading will prove just the same.
The Royals have had a good start to the season, sitting just outside the play-off places. 2 home wins against Middlesbrough and Charlton last time out at the Madjeski will give the Royals a boost, especially after throwing a 2-0 lead away last weekend away to Fulham, to end up losing 4-2. Reading have only lost once in the last 4 games at home (Derby, 15/9), beating the 2 teams above as well as thrashing Ipswich 5-1 in early September. The main goal threat for the Royals will be in the shape of Nick Blackman who has struck 9 times so far, with strike partner Orlando Sa also hitting 5. Oliver Norwood will be hoping to be continuing his outstanding impact in the centre of midfield, where he has played all but 21 minutes of Championship football.
Brighton will travel north without first-choice left-back Gaetan Bong after his injury last weekend, and will miss the rest of the year through the thigh injury he sustained; he should be back by the end of January. Dale Stephens is also set to be on the sidelines for a number of weeks too, at least until after the international break, allowing Andrew Crofts to increase his game time and chances of making it into the euro 2016 squad for Wales. Captain Gordon Greer looks set to return to the starting XI after injury, while Beram Kayal is poised to return too after serving his 1 match suspension. The only concerns for Chris Hughton will be who to play at left-back; Liam Rosenior or Inigo Calderon? It looks set to be Rosenior, due to his Premier League experience in that position, which would give Solly March the chance to earn himself a re-call to the starting XI after he was rested last weekend.
Recent meetings have not been in favour of the Seagulls, with them losing in their last visit to Reading 2-1 (10/3/15). Brighton haven’t won in the league against Reading since April 2003; they have however beaten then more recently in the F.A Cup back in January 2014. Overall Reading holds 10 victories of the 18 played with 5 being draws, 4 of which have come in the last 6 meetings. The more likely result seems to point in the way of another deadlock, but if Reading can find the edge they have found at home in recent games, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Brighton’s unbeaten record broken.
Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Rosenior
Murphy, Kayal, Crofts, March
Reading 1-1 Brighton