The top two sides meet in the Championship on Friday night when Southampton play Reading at St Mary’s.
With just goal difference separating the two sides, it is all to play for between these two promotion contenders.
Southampton bounced back well from their rivals Portsmouth grabbing a late equaliser last weekend with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday.
The Saints have lost just twice at home this season, winning 15. Nigel Adkins’ side have topped the league for the majority of the season so will be looking to finish the season strongly and secure back to back promotions.
Rickie Lambert scored twice in the win over Palace, taking him to 26 goals in the league this season. Southampton’s number seven has adjusted well to taking the step up from League One and will be desperate to prove himself in English football’s top flight.
Reading have hit form at just the right time, winning their last four games. The Royals have really turned some heads this season, not too many people had tipped them for promotion at the start of the campaign.
Brian McDermott’s side have done fantastically well to bounce back from their play-off final defeat to Swansea last season.
The Royals have won twelve games on the road this season, which is the best in the league along with West Ham.
McDermott’s men had a poor start to the season taking just four points from their first six games, their response since then has been incredible.
Nobody has really stolen the headlines for Reading like Lambert has for Southampton. Adam Le Fondre is top goal scorer with nine goals this season, after that the goals are spread between the squad which shows how much of a team McDermott has put together.
Third place West Ham will be hoping one side comes out on top to give them a chance of going three points within the automatic promotion places.
Bookmakers see home advantage playing a part in this game, with Southampton slight favourites to take all three points. Bet365 has The Saints at 2.30 (13/10).
Reading will know that they will have to become only the third side to win at St Marys this season, their odds are 3.20 (11/5) with BoyleSports. A draw is being offered at 3.40 (12/5) with Paddy Power.
It’s no surprise that the League’s leading scorer Rickie Lambert is favourite to get the scoring underway, his odds are 5.00 (4/1) with VC Bet.
Reading’s mid-season signing Jason Roberts has been a great addition to McDermott’s squad, he looks like The Royals best chance of getting the opener. Roberts odds with Coral are 7.50 (13/2).
Reading are in fantastic form at the moment and have been brilliant away from home this season. A recommended bet is for Reading to win 3-1, which is 26.00 (25/1) with BetFred.
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