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Reading v Cardiff: Championship betting preview

Reading face Cardiff tonight in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.

The Royals enjoyed a strong second half of the regular league season, eventually finishing in fifth position with a total of 77 points. They are up against a Bluebirds side who – despite having their sights firmly set on automatic promotion this term – endured a stuttering end to the campaign that saw them finish only one place and three points above the Berkshire side.

Reading's on-loan midfielder Mikele Leigertwood is fit to play following a recent ankle injury, while Cardiff goalkeeper Tom Heaton is battling to overcome a groin strain.

Bet365 make Reading 11/10 favourites to win the match, with Cardiff priced at 5/2. The draw is offered at 23/10. Reading striker Shane Long is 9/2 favourite to open the scoring, followed by fellow forward Mathieu Manset at 11/2. The shortest-priced Cardiff player is Jay Bothroyd at 7/1.

The winners of the two-legged semi-final will face either Nottingham Forest or Swansea in the final, the two sides having played out a 0-0 draw in their opening encounter on Thursday night.
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