So it's onto Goodison Park for the latest stop in our great escape tour. Calvin from our SB Nation sister site Royal Blue Mersey gives us the lowdown on our next opponents, Everton.
How have you viewed Everton's season so far?
The Everton season has been a complete opposite from that in previous years. Usually they are slow starters and finish the season strong. This year however they came flying out of the blocks and have faltered desperately since entering the second half of the season. There are a factors this can be attributed to, mainly that there was no impact signings during the transfer window in January that would re-energize the team, and also the fact that David Moyes has been putting off all talk about his new contract looks like it has been affecting team morale.
The last times the two sides met Reading came back to win 2-1 at the Madejski, what did you make of that game and of Reading in general?
Everton have been poor at holding leads this season, and they have skittered away 19 points from winning positions. The game against Reading was typical of how Everton have failed numerous times to kill off opponents when ahead, only to see them resurrect late in the game and steal points away. Reading's backline looked weak in that game, but Adam Le Fondre has all the makings of a Premier League star.
Everton have managed to stay in the race for the FA Cup and a Champions League place despite another summer of limited spending. Is this a team that can go on to win things and build over a period of time or are you resigned to seeing top talent leave?
The Toffees have been teetering on an uneasy brink for some time now with squad depth. The financial situation has handcuffed Moyes preventing him from picking up quality players and as a result the core players are getting exhausted right at the time when they need to put in the extra effort. If the team falters and finishes out of the European spots, it is very likely Moyes will be moving on, and some players will be going too.
Who should Reading fans be particularly worried about on Saturday?
Fans, players and coaches alike know about the threat that Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar pose on the left wing, but a more unheralded partnership exists on the right and could catch quite a few people unawares. Seamus Coleman is back from injury and has had two excellent games at right back, while Kevin Mirallas at right wing has the guile and skill to provide him with support.
Anyone Everton fans are concerned with?
Everton looked like they are back on track after last weekend's debacle with a solid win against Oldham. I feel the Toffees will again dominate possession but fail to find the net. Reading on their part have looked deflated against Wigan last week and will be eager to get that behind them. I say 1-1, with Everton scoring first and Reading equalizing in the last half-hour.
Any tips for travelling Royals?
Most Toffees will freely intermingle with the away fans, so get a pint at the pubs on Walton Lane or The Spellow before the game and chat with the locals. Away fans usually get seated in one corner of the Bullens Road Stand, mostly in the lower tier. The views from some seats in the back of the upper tier have some horrendous views, but travelling fans only get allocated those when in larger numbers. The stewards at Goodison have often been commended by both home and away fans for being very helpful and efficient.
And finally, where do you think both teams will end the season?
Reading have shown they can play with the best teams in the Premier League, but they can be maddeningly inconsistent especially when playing the teams lower in the table. It'll be close but I think they'll survive the drop. As for Everton, their Champions League dreams have all but evaporated and fans will gladly take a European spot now.
Thanks again to Calvin and you can follow the Royal Blue Mersey guys over@rbmersey.