Royals host rivals in first meeting since 2004 – Reading Today Online

Reading v Oxford United

READING FC will host local rivals Oxford United as the team’s meet in competitive action for the first time in almost two decades.

The Royals were beaten in their last League One outing as Barnsley overturned a one-goal deficit to leave Reading in 23rd position.

Meanwhile, Oxford remain in sixth place despite not winning any of their last three league games.

The U’s shipped three goals without reply on their trip to fourth placed Peterborough United.

Oxford had made a flying start to the campaign under manager Liam Manning.

Oxford’s superb start to the season had seen them up in second place, while manager Manning had been awarded the League One Manager of the Month award for August.

After just 29 matches in charge of the club, Manning decided to depart Oxford in November to make the move to Championship side Bristol City.

After losing their boss, Oxford’s form has slipped which has seen them drop down the table.

They appointed Des Buckingham as their new manager on November 16, who had previously been boss of Indian side Mumbai City.

Oxford are yet to win a league match in Buckingham’s three games in charge with defeats to Cheltenham, Peterborough and a goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers.

However, they did pick up a win in the FA Cup second-round with a 2-0 victory over League Two Grimsby Town.

After 19 matches each, Oxford are currently 23 points ahead of the Royals.

Reading have been victorious in their last five meetings with Oxford United despite not meeting each other for 19 years.

In their last meeting in August 2004, goals from Shaun Goater and Andy Hughes saw Steve Coppell’s side win 2-0 in the League Cup.

The last league meeting was in April 2001, which was also won 2-0 by Reading in Division Two, with goals from Jamie Cureton and Martin Butler helping the Royals to an away win.

Ruben Selles’ side will be hoping to have full-back Jeriel Dorsett back available after he missed out on Saturday’s loss to Barnsley.

Defender Tom McIntyre is still a couple of weeks away from recovering from his injury, while there are no new known injury concerns for the side.

Predicted Reading line-up: Button, Yiadom, Abbey, Bindon, Dorsett, Craig, Wing, Azeez, Knibbs, Mukairu, Smith

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