The Tigers travel to the Madejski Stadium for a game that pits two of the sides currently occupying a play-off place against each other.
Hull beat Reading when they last met in August but Barmby insists too much could be read into that due to the Royals having significantly improved their league position since then.
He said: “You look at Reading, they have slow starts but the manager knows what he is doing as they then kick on.
“They are doing exactly the same as what they did last season and they reached the play-offs then. Reading are a good side. The front two work their socks off, as do the widemen.
“It will be a really, really good test for us. We don’t fear them but we do respect them because they are a good side.”
Barmby has no fresh injury worries and he could name Manchester United loanee Josh King on the bench following his arrival earlier in the week.
The Tigers manager said: “Josh has settled in well and when we decide to put him on or start with him then we know his fitness will get up to speed. He is in the squad but there is no great rush as we have him until the end of the season.”
One member of the Hull squad who will not be involved today, however, is Seyi Olofinjana.
Barmby had been hoping to give the midfielder, who last played for Hull in their Premier League days, a run out in a behind close doors friendly this week only to be frustrated by the weather.
He added: “Olly needs 90 minutes.”