Match Preview: Reading vs. Cardiff City

Match Previews
The Bluebirds travel to the Madejski Stadium for their Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round fixture against the Royals on Saturday afternoon - kick-off at 3pm.
The Opposition

Reading began their FA Cup campaign against League One side Blackpool at the Madejski Stadium on January 4th. The Royals went behind before the half hour mark thanks to a headed goal by Nathan Delfouneso, and a first equaliser from the hosts was quickly undone by Blackpool's second of the afternoon in the second half, this time scored by Armand Gnanduillet.

Trailing behind the visitors, it was Danny Loader who secured a second equaliser for Reading, and with it a Third Round replay. The 19-year-old was fed the ball inside the area, and redirected the pass with a backheel to send the ball past 'keeper Mark Howard at the far post.

The replay saw the Royals control the match much more as they came away from Bloomfield Road the victors. Securing their place in the Fourth Round, Reading defeated the Seasiders 2-0 as Lucas Boyé and Jordan Obita scored on either side of the interval.

Before hosting City on Saturday afternoon, Reading will travel to the City Ground on Wednesday evening for their Sky Bet Championship fixture against Nottingham Forest. 

In the hot seat

Reading's manager is Mark Bowen. The former Wales international began his playing career at Tottenham Hotspur in 1981, before leaving for Norwich City in 1987. Whilst playing for the Canaries in the First Division and Premier League, Bowen enjoyed a nine-year spell at the club, making almost 400 appearances in all competitions for the side.

The midfielder made further appearances for cubs such as West Ham United, Charlton Athletic, and Wigan Athletic before retiring as a player, later moving into coaching. 

His involvement with the Wales national side as well as Birmingham City was followed by several assistant managerial roles under Mark Hughes, with spells at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Fulham.

Briefly serving as Reading's sporting director from August 2019, two months later Bowen stepped into his current position following the departure of previous manager José Gomes.

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City midfielder Leandro Bacuna joined the Bluebirds from Reading in January 2019, following two years spent with the Royals. The Curaçaoan international began his career with Dutch side Groningen in 2009, where he made 109 league appearances in the Eredivisie across four seasons before leaving for Aston Villa in June 2013.

Bacuna made 116 league appearances for the Villans as they competed in both the Premier League and later Championship, joining Reading in 2017. Making 60 appearances in just under two seasons for the Royals, Leandro moved to South Wales, where he has since played for the Bluebrids, scoring his first goal for the side in a 1-0 victory over Stoke City in November 2019.