After edging past Southgate in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup last Sunday and taking a point from a goalless draw at Cannock on Saturday, Reading will be aiming to kick-start their play-off bid as they play host to Brooklands Manchester University this Sunday.

Currently fifth, Reading are seven points behind Wimbledon in fourth and need to start moving up if they are to salvage a spot in the end of season play-offs and keep their title hopes alive.

“We were a bit disappointed not to win at Cannock last weekend because the gap to the top four is wider,” said Reading coach Andy Watts.

“Realistically if we want to make the top four we’ve got to win every game from now on. And that’s the aim, starting with Brooklands.

“We’ve got a reasonably strong squad for this weekend, although Simon Mantell is still out with concussion and Dan Shingles is unavailable.”

With leaders East Grinstead in European indoor action, second-placed Surbiton could take top spot if they beat Cannock at Sugden Road.

Beeston head to Hampstead and Westminster to face a buoyant opponent who moved up to sixth following a win over Canterbury last weekend, and the Kent side take on Wimbledon in the Premier Division’s other match on Sunday.

Team Bath Buccaneers are at home against the University of Exeter as they aim to maintain their lead in the NOW: Pensions Conference West, while third-placed University of Birmingham could narrow the gap to Cardiff and Met in second if they win at Cheltenham.

Sheffield Hallam lie second in the NOW: Pensions Conference North, but that will change if they lose at home against Loughborough Students who are just a point behind.

Meanwhile, leaders Bowdon, who have yet to lose a league match this season – are at home against Deeside Ramblers.

Holcombe will be expecting to continue their march towards the NOW: Pensions Conference East title when they go to Old Loughtonians, while second-placed Bromley and Beckenham go to strugglers Richmond.

* The photo of Reading’s Tim Atkins is by Simon Parker.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 15 2015)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Canterbury v Wimbledon 12:45
Hampstead and Westminster v Beeston 14:00
Surbiton v Cannock 14:00
Reading v Brooklands MU 14:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Cheltenham v University of Birmingham 12:30
Barford Tigers v Fareham 13:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v University of Exeter 13:00
Whitchurch v Indian Gymkhana 13:00

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Loughborough Students 13:30
Leek v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Doncaster v Belper 14:00
University of Durham v Wakefield 14:30
Bowdon v Deeside Ramblers 14:30

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Oxted v West Herts 12:45
Brighton & Hove v Cambridge City 13:00
Chichester Priory Park v Teddington 13:30
Richmond v Bromley and Beckenham 13:30
Old Loughtonians v Holcombe 14:00

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