Crystal Palace’s FA Cup solace to come to an end against Reading
Last season Reading saw the prospect of an FA Cup final slip through the fingers of Adam Federici at Wembley as Arsenal claimed an extra-time success, and they could have a chance to redeem themselves this term.
The Royals must pass another test if they are to book a Wembley date for the second straight season as Crystal Palace come to town in the quarter finals.
Brian McDermott’s side haven’t tasted defeat at the Madejski Stadium in 2016, a run of nine straight games without loss in front of their own fans.
They come into this fixture as 9/5 underdogs, a price that looks well worth taking.
As well as their recent record in Berkshire, their FA Cup pedigree at the ‘Mad Stad’ looks a fearsome one indeed, winning six of their last seven.
A defeat to Huddersfield on Tuesday night was their first loss since February 2 but that 3-1 loss can be taken with a pinch of salt.
McDermott was clear that Friday night’s fixture was on his mind when discussing his team-selection in midweek and demonstrated that by making six (albeit some injury-related) changes from the XI that drew with Fulham last week.
The 54-year-old could have the duo of Hal Robson-Kanu and captain Paul McShane back for the cup tie and could also offer a spot in the squad to Matej Vydra who has netted six goals in the competition this term.
Opponents Crystal Palace could have other things on their mind after a run of 12 Premier League fixtures without a win saw them slip to nine points above the relegation zone and the possibility of being dragged into a late-season scrap.
The FA Cup has offered some solace in that run with odd-goal victories over Tottenham and Stoke City followed a 2-1 triumph over Southampton.
However that could all come to an end against a Reading side who claimed the scalp of a Premier League team in the last round and boast a proud record against Palace having lost just one of their last 10 meetings.
Alan Pardew will be eyeing a winning return to his former club, but for those seeking a bit of value, it could pay to side with the Royals clipping the Eagles’ wings and booking another trip to Wembley.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.