READING are back on home soil as they look to plot their escape from the relegation zone when they host Port Vale on Saturday.
The Royals sunk back into the drop zone at the weekend after Exeter City defeated fellow relegation candidates Carlisle United in their game in hand to move back above Ruben Selles side to put them three points adrift of safety.
Reading’s improved run of form has seen them go unbeaten in their last six League One matches, including a victory over Exeter in their first game of 2024 with a 3-2 success.
Vale go into the contest having picked up a last gasp point in a 3-3 draw with Charlton Athletic thanks to Gavin Massey’s 92nd minute leveller.
Andy Crosby’ side sit in 14th place after 25 matches on 30 points, seven points ahead of Reading.
Vale have scored 28 goals in their 25 matches, six fewer than Reading. Their top scorer is Ben Garrity who has bagged eight goals and two assists in 23 games.
The reverse fixture at Vale Park, which was Reading’s first away trip of the season, was won by the hosts.
Reading missed the chance to go in front when Andy Carroll saw his 12th minute penalty stopped by the keeper.
The only goal of the game was scored in the 72nd minute by Garrity who found the net via a deflection which looped up over David Button to give Vale all three points.
Port Vale’s last trip to Berkshire to face Reading came in the 2001/02 season on new year’s day 2002.
The Royals won the contest 2-0 courtesy of two late strikes from Jamie Cureton as Alan Pardew’s side went on to win promotion from Division Two finishing as runners-up.
Reading will be hoping to have captain Andy Yiadom back available for selection after he missed out through injury in the win over Exeter.
Predicted Reading line-up: Button, Yiadom, Abbey, Bindon, Dorsett, Craig, Wing, Azeez, Knibbs, Mukairu, Smith