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The Big Kick-Off: Reading

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Paul Grech


As a young kid, Paul Grech got used to hearing ‘oh no, not him’ when the others found out that he would be playing on their team. He quickly took the hint that he was crap at football. Hopefully, he’s a bit better at writing about it....
[full biography]
09/08/2007 09:30:00.
read: 177 times.

Hopes and Fears


Reading’s eight place finish last season surprised a lot of people and that’s why so many are predicting that they will struggle to replicate their form this season. That, and the fact that they’ve practically brought in no players during the summer.

Whilst other managers spent their summer months desperately trying to spend their way through the clubs’ bank accounts, Steve Coppell has done the opposite. Just three new players will be coming in and, even so, one of them spent half of last season at Reading on loan.

His policy is that of spending money only to get players who are better than what he already has. Risky, but no more so then spending millions and building a side around players with no experience of English football.

Of course, there will be no Steven Sidwell this season and the midfielder will be hugely missed. Yet Reading had other players who did terribly well last season: Nicky Shorey, Leroy Lita, Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson and Kevin Doyle. All of these can improve even further and, whilst expecting another top half finish might be too much, Reading will once again do much better than people expect them.

Key Transfer


As the side least active sides in the Premiership this summer, it is hard to choose a key transfer for Reading but, being pressed, the choice has to go for Emerson Fae. Brought in to replace Sidwell, he shouldn’t be measured by his predecessor’s achievements: if that’s the case, then he will pleasantly surprise a lot of people.

Something to Prove


Having replaced Sidwell towards the end of last season, Brynjar Gunnarsson might have expected to be the one to do so on a permanent basis this season. That doesn’t look like being the case with Emerson Fae apparently being signed for that job. But, having worked so hard to make it to the Premiership, Gunnarsson won’t be happy to simply wait on the sidelines for the occasional cameo. Just the sort of determination that Reading will be looking for to prove people wrong.

One to Watch


Signed from Bristol City, young English left back Scott Golbourne spent most of last season on loan at Wycombe. He did well enough there to suggest that, given more experience he could be the next player to prove Coppell’s talent in spotting players.


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