FOOTBALL NEWS

14/03/2013 21:06, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Preview: United v Reading

Date, time and coverage: Saturday 16 March, kick-off at 17:30 GMT. The match will be shown live on ESPN and you can also follow it via ManUtd.com’s live text and radio.

Form guide: United return to Barclays Premier League action following a disappointing week in which the Reds lost to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and drew with Chelsea in the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are hardly struggling for form, though, considering the 12-point lead over title rivals Manchester City and an unbeaten run in the top flight dating back to last November's 1-0 reverse at Norwich. In contrast, Reading have lost their last four games and are currently 19th, four points shy of safety. The Royals are also without a manager after Brian McDermott was relieved of his duties on Monday.

Ins and outs: Phil Jones is still not ready to return after sustaining an injury against the Royals in last month's FA Cup tie, and Nani is also ruled out after limping off against Chelsea. Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Nemanja Vidic might all return after sitting on the bench last time out. Reading are without Alex McCarthy, Jason Roberts and probably Adam Federici - but should welcome Jimmy Kebe back to the fold.

Betting: Unsurprisingly, bwin regard United as favourites to win at odds of 1.14 while Reading are priced at 14.00, with the draw at 8.25. Seeing as the Reds haven’t conceded in the last four league matches, there is added value in backing David De Gea to keep a clean sheet at 1.75.

Last meeting: Nani came off the bench to score one and create another for Javier Hernandez as the Reds booked a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals via a 2-1 triumph.

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