Reading boosted by midweek performance

Reading boss Brian McDermott believes the midweek draw against high-flying Cardiff will give his team a psychological boost today.

The Royals looked to be heading for a fine home win after Noel Hunt put them ahead, only for Jay Bothroyd to level it 14 minutes from time.

'We're in better shape now than we were, both in terms of points and psychologically,' said McDermott. 'We didn't do ourselves justice on Saturday against QPR, but we did against Cardiff. We've given our supporters something to shout about too.

'I was delighted with my players' performance and gutted for them that they didn't get the result they warranted.'

Winger Jimmy Kebe is out with a knee injury, which means McDermott is likely to stick with the same starting line-up, with Shane Long, Simon Church and Noel Hunt leading the attack.

'I thought that was the way to go. To really attack the game,' said McDermott, who has been criticised by fans for only starting with one striker at home.

'We had goalscorers on the pitch. I was really pleased for Noel (after he scored his first goal this season). He's been trying to get himself fit for a long time and I think he's back to himself now.'

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The match is live on Sky Sports at 5.20pm – a change of schedule which has meant Hunt's plans to watch David Haye fight Audley Harrison in Manchester tonight have had to be scrapped.

The Republic of Ireland star intended to go to the WBA heavyweight title clash with brother Stephen, but had to cancel due to Reading's late kick-off in front of the TV cameras.

'Our big fight against Norwich will be over by then and we'll hopefully have the three points,' said Hunt. 'The boys will be right up for it.'