David Wagner is up for the cup.

The boss is eyeing a good FA Cup run in his first taste of England's premier knockout competition, and Reading provide the first hurdle.

All indications are that the German will field a strong side for Saturday's third round clash - the first of three home games in a week at the John Smith's Stadium. Here are three key battles where the tie could be won or lost for Town...

Mark Hudson v Orlando Sa


Pic by James Griffiths Sky Bet Championship QPR v Huddersfield Town 28-12-2015 Mark Hudson

Nick Blackman has taken his considerable goal threat (13 goals in 28 appearances so far this term) to Derby County as the Rams look to strengthen their promotion push. With the striker out of contract in the summer it's a logical move by Reading but may mean they are short of goals.

The onus to step up and provide falls on summer signing Orlando Sa, and it will be up to Huddersfield skipper Mark Hudson to ensure he can't start doing that against Town.

Sa's five goals in 20 games put him second in the Royals' goalscoring charts, and top dog now Blackman has moved onto pastures new. A summer signing from Legia Warsaw, he'll have a point to prove - especially as his last goal came back in October.

Fond of a long ball and headed attempts on goal, Sa often draws fouls from the opposition - and with Town's shaky record at defending set pieces, Hudson should be wary.

READ MORE: Could Jordy Hiwula provide an answer to Huddersfield Town's striking conundrum?

READ MORE: David Wagner: I want to manage Town against Klopp's Liverpool in the Premiership


Emyr Huws v Oliver Norwood

Reading's Oliver Norwood.

Ollie Norwood needs no introduction to Town fans after the impact he made on signing from Manchester United in 2012.

He's played every league game for the Royals so far this term and with two goals and three assists, has had a direct role in 1/6 of Reading's Championship goals - impressive considering he has been deployed in a more defensive role for large parts of the campaign.

Emyr Huws, who came through the ranks at Manchester City, will be tasked with keeping the former Terrier quiet and that midfield battle could be key to the outcome of the points.

While Huws has certainly not slacked in attacking contributions this term, with his corner against Preston particularly memorable, his partnership with Jonathan Hogg has been key to Town's balance during the time Dean Whitehead has been on the sidelines and it's given the players ahead of him more room to roam.

The same again on Saturday, with Huws occupying Norwood, would be extremely welcome.



Joe Lolley v Chris Gunter

Reading (1) v Huddersfield Town (1) - Paul Dixon and Chris Gunter.


If Joe Lolley is to continue his run of form and fire Town into the FA Cup fourth round, he will have to get past Reading's ever present right back Chris Gunter.

The Welsh international is yet to miss a game this season, and the club's Mr Reliable has matched minutes with impressive performances - a potential worry for the Royals as he, like the departed Blackman, is due to finish his current contract in the summer.

Lolley meanwhile, has three goals in his last seven games and has found a new lease of life under David Wagner. Playing off Nahki Wells and often drifting out towards the left hand touchline, he thoroughly deserved his goal against Bolton last time out and his all-round game has been of real value to the Terriers since the change in management.

He has scored in the FA Cup for Kidderminster - Town fans will be hoping he can repeat the feat in blue and white.