West Ham United-Reading Preview
By TOM BENNETT
STATS European Football Writer
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Reading will be looking for their first win in nine matches as they welcome West Ham United to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Reading (1-7-11) picked up their first point since mid-November when they drew 0-0 with Swansea on Boxing Day, and manager Brian McDermott was delighted with a point to end a run of seven consecutive defeats and lift the club above Queens Park Rangers at the foot of the table.
"It was important to get a point, a clean sheet and to move up a place as well, nobody wants to be bottom," said McDermott. "We're getting closer to the teams above us which is where we need to get to. We wanted to win and we nearly did that.
"We've had a run of seven games when we haven't got any results and I didn't want it to get to eight because the boys didn't deserve that. Five of those seven were away and the two home games Man Utd and Arsenal, but today we looked solid against a good Swansea side. We have to find a way of getting results and we've got one today."
Visitors West Ham (6-5-7) have managed just a single victory in their last seven league games, but were given a rest on Boxing Day due to the rescheduling of their match at Arsenal. The Hammers' last league game was a 2-1 defeat to Everton on Dec. 22, and Jordan Spence told the club website that the squad were still hurting from that game.
"It is hard to be positive when you lose a football match so close to the end of the game and I was disappointed with the result against Everton - especially with the manner of it," said Spence after making his first-team debut. "Certainly on the balance of play, we would have wanted something out of the game.
"We are in a results business and we're interested in points, so when you come away with no points, there is little consolation, really. Our form lately has not been reflected in the number of points which we have taken, so hopefully we can get the result at Reading that we dearly want."
Reading's Alex McCarthy (shoulder) is out for the rest of the season, but Jason Roberts may return after a hip injury. West Ham have doubts over Yossi Benayoun (knee), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Guy Demel (illness) and Gary O'Neil (illness). George McCartney (knee), Mohamed Diame (hamstring) and Andy Carroll (knee) are missing for the Hammers.
Reading have won just once all season, and their record of 19 goals conceded at home is the worst in the Premier League.
West Ham have managed a league-low five goals away from home, but only three teams have had a tighter defence on the road, with the Hammers conceding just 10 in eight away games.
Reading won both games against West Ham in the Championship last season, running out 3-0 victors at home and 4-2 at Upton Park. The Royals also took five points off the Hammers when they were last in the top-flight - including a stunning 6-0 win at the Madejski in January 2007.
Updated December 27, 2012