Watford face a tough test of their automatic promotion credentials as they welcome Reading to Vicarage Road in Friday Night Football from 202-21 Sky Bet Championship.
Victory will put Watford within five points of Championship leaders – Norwich, whereas Reading can climb above Barnsley into fifth with a win.
Tom Cleverley could return for Watford after recovering from a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.
Troy Deeney (Achilles) and Tom Dele-Bashiru (knee) remain ruled out for the Hornets, despite stepping up their recovery programmes.
Reading will have Omar Richards available after the left-back was substituted in Monday’s win over Derby with a knock to his foot.
John Swift (hamstring) could feature but Felipe Araruna (knee) is still ruled out.
- Watford have claimed seven points from their last five meetings against Reading (W2, D1, L2).
- Reading have won just two of their last six visits to Vicarage Road (W2, D2, L2).
- Tom Lees’ own goal on Good Friday was the first own goal scored at Vicarage Road in 17 matches since Darragh Lenihan’s own goal gave Watford a 3-1 win over Blackburn in late October.
- Five of Reading’s last six away goals have come before half time.
- Watford drew their only previous home game refereed by James Linington this season, drawing 1-1 against Brentford in mid-December.
With just one conceded goal in their last six home games, Watford will certainly be confident of a seventh straight home win but they failed to convert most of their chances at Middlesbrough and Reading will be a tougher team to get past.
Reading meanwhile survived a scrappy trip to Barnsley in their last away game before comfortably defeating Derby on Monday, despite a momentary lapse of pressing seeing the Rams punish them from long range.
On that note, I am expecting a proper feisty contest here because Reading do have the quality to really take the game to Watford, so a score draw surely has to be the best bet unless Watford can clinically convert their dominance more.
Prediction: Watford 1-1 Reading
Result: Watford 2-0 Reading