FA Cup preview: Manchester City v Reading

On paper a home tie against Championship opposition might look like an straightforward tie. The reality is different for a City side currently on a run of tired performances and having only arrived back from the Ukraine at 5am on Friday.

As a result, it’s to be hoped that Mancini endeavours to refresh the side. The most welcome returnee would be Nigel de Jong. Boateng, Vieira, Boyata and Jo all missed out in Kiev and should be considered. Tevez and Wright-Phillips only made substitute appearances and would be fresher than the likes of Barry and Yaya.

Recent performances suggest that greater rotation wouldn’t necessarily reduce the effectiveness. Balotelli did no more against Kiev than Jo would have. Likewise, Vieira instead of Yaya wouldn’t have been any great loss.

Reading are on a roll in terms of results and buoyed further by beating Everton at Goodison in the last round.

Brian McDermott, Reading manager:

“We won’t go there and play for a draw.

“We have to go and play our game and we only know one way of playing really.”

However they do have several players injured. Most notable among these is their captain, and former City player, Matt Mills, whose struggling to overcome a groin strain picked up in Tuesday’s impressive 3-1 win at Ipswich.

Following some misjudgements in the ticketing, Reading failed to take up their full allocation and City had initially closed the third tiers. The fans felt differently and have been snapping up tickets, so it should be a good atmosphere featuring the return of inflatables as we strive to make our first FA Cup semi-final since 1981.

The FA Cup is a trophy which seems a lot easier to achieve than the never-ending Europa League. It would be fantastic to make that first trip to the new Wembley if we can raise ourselves in what could be a frantic affair.

Blue Days line-up (4-2-3-1):
Richards – Boateng – Kompany – Zabaleta
de Jong – Vieira
Wright-Phillips – Silva – Jo

Prediction: 3-1 to City.

Europa League verdict: Dynamo Kiev 2 Manchester City 0
FA Cup player ratings: Manchester City v Reading

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