Aussies Abroad: Federici sets the standard

Adam Federici is continuing to drive reading's push towards a return to the top flight of English football.

Australia may have another goalkeeper plying his trade in the Barclays Premier League next season if Adam Federici's Reading continue their impressive push for promotion from the nPower Championship.

The Socceroos No.2 has been in superb form as Reading have gone on a run of 13 wins from their last 15 matches to move into equal second with slumping West Ham United.

Reading beat Leicester City 3-1 over the weekend, and with 10 matches remaining have a great chance of bettering last season's effort when they were beaten in the play-off final by Swansea City.

The 27-year-old Federici has been an integral part one of the stingiest defences in the league. The 29 goals conceded so far this season ranks second only to Hull City.

Reading face perhaps the biggest challenge to their promotion credentials over the next week when they play Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Peterbrough United all away from home. The clash with the Hammers at Upton Park on March 30 is looming as well.

Long-standing Socceroos custodian Mark Schwarzer is, of course, already well established with Fulham, but he was at fault for the goal that doomed his side to a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park in the Premier League.

The veteran saved an attempt by Gary Gardner in the final minutes of play but failed to hold the ball, allowing substitute Andreas Weimann to find the net with a well-directed right foot shot, producing Villa's first home win in four months.

Fulham remain in 10th place on the Premier League table.

Chris Herd got the start for Aston Villa in the victory over Fulham.

Meanwhile, Rhys Williams returned to Middlesbrough following suspension, only to leave the pitch injured during a 2-0 loss to Leeds United.

Following two first-half goals from Leeds, Williams produced his side's best attempt with a bullet header in the 53rd minute which went just wide of the post.

A short time later he was involved in a clash with Leeds striker Luciano Becchio and, despite attempts to play on, he wass substituted in the 63rd minute.

The versatile midfielder missed his side's 2-0 victory over Barnsley last week.

Middlesbrough remain in fourth position on the ladder.

Mile Jedinak had an impressive game as 10-man Crystal Palace held Burnley to a 1-1 draw in the nPower Championship. Palace are now eight points off the play-off places.

Meanwhile, Tim Cahill played a starring role as Everton beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the Premier League. Everton are now up to ninth on the table after a decent run of results and face Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday morning (EDT).

Brett Holman was substituted after 61 minutes in AZ Alkmaar's 2-0 win over De Graafschap in the Eeredivisie.

Mathew Leckie was an unused substitute in Borussia Monchengladbach's 0-0 draw with SC Freiberg in the Bundesliga while Mitch Langerak was again understudy to Roman Weidenfeller in the Borussia Dortmund goal in the 0-0 draw with FC Augsburg.

Nikita Rukavytsya, who scored the previous week against Werder Bremen, played the entire 90 minutes but couldn't prevent Hertha Berlin slumping to a 1-0 loss to FC Cologne.

Socceroos striker Josh Kennedy converted from the penalty spot as Nagoya Grampus got their Asian Champions League campaign off to a decent start with a 2-2 draw against Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.