STARTING XIs: City make two changes for Reading clash

Kenny McLean of Norwich and Barry Douglas of Blackburn Rovers in action during the Sky Bet Champions

Kenny McLean returns to Norwich City's starting XI at Reading - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have made two changes to their starting XI for this evening's game at Reading (8pm kick-off).

Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean makes his first start since the 1-0 home win over Swansea in early November having returned from the bench in the last two games after four matches out with a knee injury.

Alex Tettey drops to the bench following the 2-1 win at Blackburn on Saturday, as does Mario Vrancic, with Marco Stiepermann returning in the central attacking midfield role in support of striker Teemu Pukki at the Madejski Stadium.

The Canaries' injury crisis has started to ease, with goalkeeper Tim Krul (thigh) and midfielder Lukas Rupp (hamstring) hoping to return during Saturday's home game against Cardiff after a six-game absence.

Full-backs Sam Byram (hamstring) and Bali Mumba (knee) are hoping to return in January, as is winger Onel Hernandez (groin), but striker Adam Idah (knee) is expected to be out until February.

MORE: Reading v Norwich City: everything you need to know

The hosts have made three changes, with former Fulham forward Sone Aluko pushed into attack and the highly-rated Michael Olise coming into attacking midfield.

The other changes are at full-back, where Lewis Gibson and Tom Holmes come in for Omar Richards and Tomas Esteves.

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Reading have been a surprise package so far this season, after replacing Norwich legend Mark Bowen with former Atletico Madrid midfielder Veljko Paunovic, who led Serbia to the U20 World Cup in 2015 prior to four years in charge of Chicago Fire in the USA.

The Royals sit fifth and just four points behind Norwich, who saw Bournemouth claim top spot on goal difference with a 1-0 home win over Wycombe on Tuesday night and know that a draw would send them back to the summit.

Paunovic is without forwards Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite and George Puscas due to injury.

Left-back Richards misses out with a hamstring injury, which saw him replaced by Everton loanee Gibson midway through the first half of a 1-0 win at QPR on Saturday.

That was earned by a late goal from 19-year-old Olise, who came off the bench to take his season's tally to three goals and six assists. 

READING (4-2-3-1): Rafael; Holmes, Morrison, Moore (C), Gibson;  Laurent, Rinomhota; Semedo, Olise, Ejaria; Aluko. Subs: Walker (GK), Esteves, McIntyre, Bristow, Watson, East, Onen, Melvin-Lambert, Baldock.

NORWICH (4-2-3-1): McGovern; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley (C), Sorensen; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann, Martin; Pukki. Subs: Barden (GK), Omobamidele, Tettey, Cantwell, Dowell, Vrancic, Hugill, Omotoye

REFEREE: Geoff Eltringham (Durham)

- Click here to follow all the action, analysis and reaction from the Madejski Stadium with our reporters in our Matchday Live blog

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