Did you know? Reading and United first met 100 years ago to contest an FA Cup third-round clash at Elm Park - the Reds went through via a replay at Old Trafford. In total, the two teams have faced each other on 16 different occasions, with United winning eight of the encounters.
Opposition boss: Reading's owner Anton Zingarevich says he has “total faith” in manager Brian McDermott, despite a disappointing start to the campaign. This is good news for fans of stability, given that the 51-year-old has been with the Royals for 11 years - working as a scout, coach and most recently manager. Honesty is part of McDermott’s ethos, which partly explains his recent decision to swap his usual matchday tracksuit for a more tailored number, claiming “sometimes you’ve got to earn the right to wear a suit.”
Star man: Mikele Leigertwood is an experienced and committed midfielder who is arguably Reading’s heart and soul. Signed from QPR in 2011 following a successful loan spell, the towering 30-year-old is a crowd favourite at the Madejski, cementing his place in Royals’ folklore by scoring the goal which clinched promotion to the Premier League. This season, Leigertwood has scored twice in 14 appearances and must be monitored by United on Saturday.
Whistle blower: Mark Halsey will be the man in the middle on Saturday. The Lancashire official is yet to take charge of Reading this term, but United fans will remember him from September’s 2-1 win at Anfield. In 11 matches, Halsey has awarded 23 yellow cards and three reds.