Berkshire news Veljko Paunovic urged to recall Lucas Joao to Reading's line up at Watford MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Reading striker Lucas Joao was dropped to the bench for Monday's game with Derby County but BBC pundit Mick Gooding reckons he should be recalled to the line-up at Watford
Breaking News ! Reading boss Veljko Paunovic has been urged to recall Lucas Joao to his side's starting line-up for the clash at Watford on Friday. The Portuguese striker was dropped to the bench in favour of George Puscas for Monday's clash with Derby County although he came off the bench late on and found the net for the 22nd time this season. It was just his second goal in 10 games but former Reading player and manager Mick Gooding believes Joao should return to the starting 11 for the game against the Hornets at Vicarage Road. Get the latest Reading FC news from BerkshireLive delivered straight to your inbox with our new newsletter "The manager has got a decision to make - does he start with Puscas and leave Joao on the bench or does he put Joao straight back in?" Gooding said on BBC Radio Berkshire. "If it was me, I'd have Joao straight back in but that's the manager's call. I'm sure he won't play them both. "He [Paunovic] made a big decision and it paid off for him on Monday. You get paid to make big decisions and he's done that." Asked if he would start Joao at Watford, Gooding added: "I would - I'm a big Joao fan and that goal [against Derby] will only help his confidence. "He looked bereft of confidence over the past few games and after that miss at Barnsley he must have felt lower than a snake's tummy, but he got his goal and that's what strikers need, to give them that confidence. "Personally, I would play him because he's a huge threat. He's big, he's strong, he's quick, he holds the ball up and he's got a bit of everything when he's on his game." Read More Related Articles Forgotten Reading FC midfielder Felipe Araruna ready to make an impact for play off run in Read More Related Articles Veljko Paunovic reveals stance on Reading FC's transfer embargo Reading go into the game in search of just a sixth win in their past 15 matches. The victory over Derby was their first in five games and ensured they remain in sixth position in the Championship table. The challenge posed by Watford is arguably one of the toughest posed by any team in the division right now with the Hornets winning 10 of their previous 12 games. The run has seen them nail down second spot and they look firmly on course to join Norwich City in heading straight back up to the Premier League next month.
George Puscas replaced Lucas Joao in the starting line-up at Derby County and scored Reading's second goal
"It [a win] would be a fantastic statement because the other teams wouldn't believe Reading have gone to Watford and beaten them," he said. "They [Reading's rivals] will be saying 'we've got to win on Saturday' just to stay in the race. "It does put pressure on - definitely, if you can get your game out the way with a win, it puts pressure on the oppositions (rivals)." Just five points separate Brentford in third and AFC Bournemouth in seventh in the league standings, with Swansea City, Barnsley and Reading wedged between them. With a month still to go in the campaign, the clubs are likely to switch positions by the week as the pressure ramps up.
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Reading's fate is out of their hands as Bournemouth have a game in hand on them but with Brentford and Swansea hitting stuttering form, it is anyone's guess right now as to who will make up play-off places come the end of the season. Gooding reckons it will go down to the wire on Saturday, May 8 - the final day of the regular season. "I think it will - it's nip and tuck at the minute," he added. "Bournemouth are seventh with a game in hand and they can go up to fifth if they win that. "I'm sure it will go down to the last game - I'm absolutely convinced of it. "It's too close for somebody to be out of it before the last game."
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Watford vs Reading FC: Join us on Friday Reading return to Championship action on Friday evening when they travel to Watford in the Championship. Kick-off at Vicarage Road is 7.45pm on April 9. Join us for full coverage of the game throughout the evening with all of the build-up starting in our live blog from 5pm.
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