Watford vs Reading preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
George Puscas of Reading celebrates with Andy Rinomhota after scoring the winning goal against Watford at the Madejski Stadium earlier this season | (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

On Friday evening at 19:45 BST, Reading travel to Vicarage Road, looking to complete the double over Watford, who currently occupy the final automatic promotion spot. 

The Hornets could move one step closer towards the Premier League with three points against Reading. However, the visitors come into the game off the back of a 3-1 win against Derby County, in which talisman Lucas Joao returned to the score-sheet following a spell of four games without a goal.

Xisco Muñoz's side are unbeaten in seven Championship games; the hosts won six consecutive league matches prior to the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough on Easter Monday.

A win for the visitors could also prove decisive come the end of the season, with just five points separating third and seventh place as it stands. 

The Royals still have to face a trip to Carrow Road to take on Championship pace-setters Norwich City, as well as a tough game against promotion hopefuls Swansea City later this month.

Team news

Troy Deeney remains sidelined for the hosts after suffering an achilles injury in the 0-0 draw against Coventry City in February.

Tom Dele-Bashiru is also ruled out of contention for Watford. The youngster has not featured since early October last year.

Omar Richards left the field limping in Reading's win over the Rams on Monday. However, Veljko Paunovic has since confirmed that the Bayern Munich-bound full-back will feature against Watford on Friday.

Both Michael Morrison and Tom McIntyre are unavailable for the visitors. The defensive duo are unlikely to feature again this season (excluding play-offs) but Paunovic has confirmed that new deals are on the horizon for the pair, who are both keen to extend their stay at the Madejski.

The Royals remain without the versatility of Brazilian midfielder, Felipe Araruna, as he nurses a long-term injury. Although unable to feature against the Hornets, the 25-year-old is back in training and nearing full-fitness again.

John Swift is also out of contention for Reading with a recurring hamstring injury sustained in early February.

Predicted lineups

Watford: Bachmann; Masina, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Femenia, Chalobah, Hughes, Zinckernagel, Sarr, Pedro, Sema.

Reading: Rafael; Richards, Moore, Holmes, Yiadom, Laurent, Rinomhota, Olise, Ejaria, Puscas, Joao.

Ones to watch

Ismaila Sarr

Ismaila Sarr is a player who has been linked with clubs of the highest order; a player whose talent is unquestionable and a player who should almost certainly be playing Premier League football. It is a credit to Watford that Sarr has stayed put amidst the interest in him. 

The 23-year-old will forever be remembered for his incredible dismantling of Liverpool last season, but Sarr has been a revelation in the Championship. The Senegal international picked up the man of the match award against Middlesbrough earlier this week, scoring Watford's sole goal of the game to move into double figures this season.

Sarr has featured predominantly on the right flank under Muñoz but can also operate as a lone striker, as he has on eight occasions this season. Reading will be more than aware of the threat possessed by Sarr and will be hoping they can combat the danger better than Boro did on Monday.

George Puscas

Despite having only four goals to his name, George Puscas ranks 11th for minutes per goal in the Championship this season. The Romanian has come under fire since his highly-anticipated Championship move last summer, but Puscas has been silencing his critics since returning from injury recently.

The former Inter Milan forward was selected ahead of Joao against Derby, with Paunovic opting to switch up his side in search of a winning formula again. The 25-year-old proved to be the missing ingredient, netting the second goal of the game in typical poacher fashion.

Paunovic will undoubtedly be excited at the prospect of, not one but, two proven goalscorers in his side, and Puscas could be in line for another start at Vicarage Road on Friday. 

Past meetings

Earlier this season, George Puscas scored the only goal in an unexpected 1-0 win at the Madejski Stadium.

The last time the two sides met at Vicarage Road was in early 2015; Watford ran out 4-1 winners, courtesy of a Troy Deeney brace.

 

How to watch

The game will be televised live on Sky Sports for paying customers, with coverage starting from 19:30 BST onwards.

The match is also available to watch on NOW TV with 24 hour Sky Sports passes available at £10 for those across the United Kingdom. 

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