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Reading v Newcastle- Can the Magpies make it 9/9?

Newcastle United could make it three wins from three as they travel to the Madejski stadium to take on Jaap Stam's Reading.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Dwight Gayle made a goalscoring return against Huddersfield.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Stam is set to reintroduce winger Garath McCleary to the starting eleven, after he was rested during their weekend win over Wolves in order to recover from knee and abdomen issues.

Defender Thiago Ilori is not yet ready to make his return for the club, the Portuguese man has not featured since late January due to a knee injury. The same problem will also keep Stephen Quinn on the sidelines.

Reece Oxford, on loan from West Ham, will not play either. He will miss out along with winger Callum Harriot. Both have hamstring injuries.

The absence of Oxford will mean that the Reading back four will be unchanged for the third game running. Former Sunderland defender Paul McShane will captain the side.

Two Royals players are also carrying ankle problems: Deniss Rakels and Danzell Gravenberch will therefore play no part in the fixture.

Danny Williams has been integral to the host's impressive campaign and will sit just in front of the defence.

35 year old Frenchman Yann Kermorgant is a reliable Championship performer and is likely to start at the top of a front three, which will include Roy Beerens.

Manchester United v Reading - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Yann Kermorgant is the Royals' top scorer this season.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As for the visitors, they were able to welcome back Dwight Gayle (who scored on his return at Huddersfield) and Rafa Benitez has confirmed that he is fit to start the game. Of course, Daryl Murphy also grabbed himself a goal, so Benitez will have a decision to make.

Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns, but like Reading, none of their absent players will be able to return. Isaac Hayden remains out with an ankle injury that required an operation, whilst Rolando Aarons is edging closer to a comeback after his knee injury.

One change that may be made would see DeAndre Yedlin recapture the right-back berth from Vurnon Anita, who will struggle to play another 90 minutes after recently returning from injury.

Jack Colback and Jonjo Shelvey will continue as the midfield duo, but Mo Diame may find himself being dropped to the bench in favour of Ayoze Perez.

Likely line ups

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Moore, McShane, Blackett, Williams, Swift, Van Den Berg, Popa, Kermorgant, Beerens

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Colback, Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran, Gayle

Score prediction: Reading 0-1 Newcastle United

The game has not been selected for TV coverage. You can follow the match by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle's live match commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website