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Reading v Birmingham City: Match preview

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FA Cup semi-finalists Reading take on Gary Rowett's Birmingham City in tonight's Skybet Championship clash. 

The Royals go into the game on the back of a cruel 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in last week's FA Cup semi final. Only an Adam Federici howler prevented the Championship outfit progressing to the final and manager Steve Clarke will hope his side can take hope from the tightly contested game. 

Meanwhile Birmingham City arrive at the Madejski on the back of a 1-0 defeat by title-chasers Watford, with manager Gary Rowett admitting that his team 'aren't a million miles away'. 

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"We were beaten by one goal by a very, very good Watford team. We took a Bournemouth team very close and we drew with Derby in the last minute. Ae are not a million miles away, but there is still a bit of a gap," the boss told the Birmingham mail. 

Team news

Reading came through the gruelling game against the Gunners unscathed, but Clarke could make a few changes following the 120-minute-match. 

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Jem Karacan could come back in having started on the bench at Wembley, as could Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake. 

Meanwhile Birmingham have a full squad to chose from heading into the game. Darren Randolph has recovered from a knock he received at Watford, whilst Nikola Zigic is available for selection after missing the trip to Vicarage Road. 

Last time they met

Last time the side's met was at St Andrews in December. Birmingham youngster Demarai Gray scored a hat-trick as the Royals were brushed aside by a dominant Blues performance. 

The game also cost Reading boss Nigel Adkins his job, who was fired 48 hours after the match. 

Predicted line-ups and result 

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Obita, Chalobah, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Mackie, Pogrebnyak, McCleary.

Birmingham: Randolph, Caddis, Morrison, Kiernan, Grounds, Gleeson, Tesche, Cotterill, Fabbrini, Gray, Donaldson.

Birmingham have only won twice in their last five outings but Reading have struggled recently, and having lost the FA cup semi-final, could be low on moral. 

We predict: Reading 1 Birmingham City 3

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Topics:
Reading
Football
Birmingham
Championship

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