The Premier League season is back and the Royals are back in it after a four year absence. Tomorrow’s opening day opponents will be Tony Pulis’ Stoke City, who have been recognised as the model for promoted teams, in establishing themselves as a top division side.
Reading manager Brian McDermott – ‘It’s been four years since we’ve been in the Barclays Premier League so we’re looking forward to it, especially the chance to play in front of our home supporters. It will be a big crowd, I imagine there won’t be a seat left in the Madejski. It’s just great to be back and to test ourselves against the best. Pulis is up there as one of the best managers around and for what he’s achieved, I would imagine he’s a hero up in Stoke.’
Stoke boss Tony Pulis – ‘We know it`s going to be really tough.There will be a full house and their place will be rocking because it`s a big occasion. I`ve watched them a couple of times in pre-season and they look a good side. Brian McDermott has signed a player to cover for every position, so they are going into the Premier League with a squad that looks pretty strong.”
Reading Team News:
Reading will definetely be without striker Jason Roberts who is serving a two-match ban picked up from last season. Midfielder Jem Karacan could be named on the bench, following a quick recovery from a broken ankle picked up over four months ago. Another player who is definetly not playing is Jimmy Kebe, who has a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Pavel Pogrebnyak
The Russian forward made his sensational move to the Madejski Stadium last month and carries a good reputation. Despite impressing hugely in pre-season, ‘Pog’ will want to take the Premier League by storm again.
Stoke Team News:
Stoke could welcome back reliable defender Robert Huth tomorrow, despite suffering from viral meningitis for the majority of last week. American Geoff Cameron is having problems with his visa, while winger Jermaine Pennant is a doubt with a thigh strain.
Player to watch: Cameron Jerome
The former Birmingham City forward could prove to be a thorn in the Royals side tomorrow, with his pace possibly exploiting our notable weakness.
Reading (4-4-2) Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte; McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Kightly, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Crouch
The referee for tomorrow’s game will be Mr Kevin Friend. He was in the spotlight last week during the Community Shield between Chelsea and Manchester City, after awarding Branislav Ivanovic a controversial red card.
After all the hype and expectation around the place, I can see it being a 0-0 bore draw.
Reading – Chelsea (A) 22nd August – Premier League
Stoke – Arsenal (H) 26th August – Premier League