Having lost seven games straight in all competitions, Reading are seven points adrift of safety. Unfortunately the effect that Nigel Adkins was supposed to have didn't materialise in his first game in charge -- a 4-1 defeat away at Arsenal -- and the Royals' deficit may already be insurmountable.
Mauricio Pocchettino's Southampton will be looking to harm their chances even further at the Madejski, coming into this game on the back of two consecutive victories -- following up a win at home to Liverpool by downing Chelsea at St Mary's last weekend.
The two wins have done wonders to settle the Saints' nerves, opening up a four point gap to the drop zone which should be good enough to keep them in the Premier League. A win here would be their first on the road since January, when a Rickie Lambert penalty saw Southampton beat fellow strugglers Aston Villa 1-0.
Lambert, the Saints' top scorer, has hit great form again of late, and has moved up to 14 goals for the season. He should enjoy playing against what is statistically the league's worst defence, though his side could be without captain Adam Lallana and goalkeeper Artur Boruc. Uruguayan playmaker Gastón Ramírez will likely return to the starting eleven after being benched last weekend, with the international break having taken its toll.
Reading could miss winger Jimmy Kébé again, while striker Jason Roberts' hip issue will probably keep him sidelined. Goalkeeper Adam Federici may return.
Reading injuries and suspensions
In doubt: Jimmy Kébé (groin), Jason Roberts (hip), Adam Federici (ankle)
Southampton injuries and suspensions
In doubt: Adam Lallana (groin), Artur Boruc (illness)
Match Date\Time: Saturday, 12:45 p.m. local, 7:45 a.m. ET
Venue: Madejski Stadium, Reading, England
TV: ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes (U.S.) Sky Sports 2/HD (U.K.)
Online: Watch ESPN (U.S.)