Preview: Reading vs. Stoke City

Brian McDermott
© PA Photos
New signings Pavel Pogrebnyak, Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa are expected to start when Reading begin life back in the Premier League against Stoke at the Madjeski Stadium.

Newly-promoted Reading begin life back in the Premier League with a home fixture against Stoke City at the Madjeski Stadium on Saturday.

Royals boss Brian McDermott has strengthened his squad over the summer in a bid to establish his side in the top flight.

Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who scored six goals in a loan spell at Fulham last season, is the marquee arrival and he is expected to start against the Potters.

Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa are also in contention to make their debuts in a new-look defensive lineup for last season's Championship winners.

Tony Pulis has not been as active in the transfer market, with former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Michael Kightly the only notable signing.

He will compete with Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant for a spot on the Stoke flanks, but Pulis may opt to stay loyal to the pair that provided top-scorer Peter Crouch with a large proportion of his 14 goals last season.

Possible lineups:

Reading: Federici; Gunter, Marriapa, Gorkss, Harte; Kebe, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak

Stoke City: Begovic; Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson; Pennant, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington; Walters, Crouch

Sports Mole says: 2-1

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