Emirates FA Cup R4 Replay Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Reading
The Bluebirds will face the Royals at CCS on Tuesday night as the two sides meet in a FA Cup Fourth Round replay - kick-off at 7:45pm.
The Royals: Recent Form
Mark Bowen's men took an early lead in their last outing against City on Friday night, as Yakou Méïté scored from close range to mark his eighth goal of the season in all competitions.
Callum Paterson's second half equaliser denied the Royals their first league victory in almost a month, however. The forward was on hand to shoot home from inside the six-yard box following a failed clearance by Michael Morrison, who headed onto his own post.
Following two recent fixtures between the two sides that both ended in 1-1 draws, there is guaranteed to be one victor from Tuesday's match, with a penalty shootout being the decider should the scores be level following the 90' and a potential additional 30 minutes of extra time in South Wales.
City Focus: Callum Paterson
With three goals scored in his last three appearances for the Bluebirds, Callum Paterson has certainly enjoyed his return to the starting lineup under Neil Harris. The forward opened his account this season with a terrific half-volley in October's 3-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers, having come off the bench in the 65th minute against the R's.
In January, the Scottish international made his first start in nearly two months against Carlisle United following a period of appearing off the bench. Paterson kicked off City's second half comeback against the Cumbrians with a goal, setting up Gavin Whyte for an equaliser five minutes later.
The forward has now scored in three consecutive matches for City, including the opener against then league leaders West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, January 28th. Paterson's form against the Royals has given Tuesday's opponents cause for concern, as he has netted in each of City's two recent meetings against Mark Bowen's men.
Currently matching his previous record of three goals in three that he attained in March 2018, City supporters at CCS on Tuesday night will be wondering if he can do one better for the Bluebirds.
Cup stats: Bluebirds & Royals
- Cardiff City last made it past the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in the 2013/14 season, defeating both Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers before being knocked out in the Fifth Round. City supporters will remember the campaign for the match against the Magpies, with goals from Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell giving the Bluebirds their first win at St James' Park in 51 years.
- Reading have twice reached the Semi-Final of the FA Cup. In their 2014-15 campaign, the Royals were defeated 2-1 by Arsenal at Wembley Stadium in extra time, as Alexis Sánchez scored twice for the Gunners.
- The two sides' first FA Cup clash was in the 1927 Semi-Final, as the Bluebirds defeated the Royals 3-0 at Molineux Stadium. For Reading, both times they have been reached the final four they have been knocked out by the eventual competition winners.
Man to Watch: John Swift
Reading midfielder John Swift has played an integral role for the Royals' under Mark Bowen this season. The 24-year-old has been a main contributor to the attack throughout the 2019/20 season, earning himself eight assists in 25 appearances, including in Friday night's 1-1 draw against the Bluebirds.
In addition to his ability to set up goals, the Portsmouth-born midfielder has netted on five occasions this season, most recently against Fulham in a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage on New Years Day.
Joining Reading from Chelsea in 2016 following seven years in their academy setup (making his sole appearance for the Blues against the Bluebirds in 2014), Swift has made 127 competitive appearances for the Royals in his time with the club. Though he has not yet featured in an FA Cup fixture during the current season, an appearance for the Royals on Tuesday will likely be a consideration for Mark Bowen as he prepares for a return to CCS.