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Stuart Dalgleish 14th Aug 2009 - 19:20

Geordies will struggle to roll over stubborn Reading

Newcastle United, still without a manager, take on Brendan Rodgers' Reading for their first home game at this level in over 15 years.

This should be a really close game; Newcastle performed fairly well against West Brom in their opening match of the season but didn't overly stretch Scott Carson in the Baggies goal, whilst Reading were dominant against Forest but struggled to create chances.

The Royals will be without one of their star men from last season - Stephen Hunt as the winger has joined Hull, and Newcastle could well be without one of their wide men as Fulham are trying to tempt Damien Duff down to Craven Cottage.

With these two players missing the game might struggle to spark into life and under 2 in the Total Match Goals market at 12/5 could be the stand out bet for the match.

Even if Duff does play I still can't see The Toon forcing that many meaningful attempts at Reading keeper Adam Federici, their midfield has plenty of steel with the likes of Barton, Nolan and Smith but creativity isn't one of their strong points; last weekend at The Hawthorns Jonás Gutiérrez beat his man every time but wasn't able to deliver a decent cross into the box.

Reading were even less creative in their season opener at the Madejski, and couldn't even manage a shot on target but their defence was strong and only allowed one shot from the visitors to trouble the home net.

It all points to a less than exciting game in prospect, but that doesn't mean there isn't cash to be won - with over 40 markets to bet on you can make sure you're a winner even if there's no winner at St James' Park.

The Geordies go into the game as favourites but I won't be touching them at odds of 4/5. The draw is available at 23/10 and for the game to finish 0-0 looking good value at 8/1, The Royals - who were excellent on the road last season and are nine away games undefeated - are 11/4 shots.

If anyone is to find the back of the net for Newcastle it certainly won't be Alan Smith, the former Leeds man hasn't scored a goal since November 2005 and should have a few extra zeroes on top of his price of 12/1 to score the first of this match.

There could however be value to be found for Reading; Dave Mooney and Nicholas Bignall both bagged two goals in midweek and at 10/1 and 12/1 respectively to strike first in this game the pair look a much better price than the striker turned midfielder's odds of 12s.

Remember even if these two don't start the match the price remains the same for them to score the last goal of the 90 minutes.

You can join us live to bet in-play on a massive range of in-running markets that should have you interested right to the final whistle even if the football disappoints.

Newcastle v Reading - Saturday 17:20

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