As we look forward to tomorrow’s game against Leicester at the Madejski Stadium, we caught up with Leicester season ticket holder and fan, Rich Tullis.
As we look forward to tomorrow’s game against Leicester at the Madejski Stadium, we caught up with Leicester season ticket holder and fan, Rich Tullis (@Rich_Tullis). We ask Rich about Leicester’s recent promotion to the Premier League, how he reckons they will fare in the top flight and his prediction for the fixture tomorrow. Cheers Rich!
1. Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion to the Premier League – did you expect this sort of response at the beginning of the season, following your play-off failure last time round?
I did not expect us to be as formidable as we have been. We have always been a team in contention, and always shown our desire to achieve promotion. This season has been a truly magical record breaking season. The team has shown that they were not willing to suffer the same heartache felt at the end of last season, they have come back so much stronger and with greater desire. It was certainly an emotional Saturday in Tullis Towers when Promotion was achieved. The flowing Champagne certainly helped though.
2. What was the general feeling surrounding Nigel Pearson at the end of last season, compared to now? How good a job has he done at Leicester?
I believe that the majority of fans knew that Nigel was man, as always there was the small minority who would have liked to have seen him replaced. I just hoped the owners would see the same vision as the fans did, luckily for us they believed in him and he has rewarded them with their ultimate goal, Premier League Football. I think the fact that so many opposition mangers have commented on how Leicester have been the best team they have faced in a long time, shows what Nigel has achieved this year.
3. Why do you think you were one better this time round compared to last season?
Faith in the manager, it is ridiculous that Nigel has been in the job two and half years and this makes him the longest serving manager in the Championship. Managers need time to nurture and develop a team. Instant success cannot be achieved any more, owners need to trust the manager and give them time, and Nigel has proven this point by delivering Premier League football. We have also kept the team together, they have gelled better and become one team and not just eleven players. It has been the retaining of last years players and the bonding of the squad that has gone a long way in achieving our goal. Faith and patience reaps rewards.
4. How do you think you will do in the Premier League next season? Do you feel you need to do lots in the transfer market in the summer?
I always look at the Premier League as two leagues in one, there are the top 6 or 7 clubs who are just on another level, and then there are the others who make up the remaining places. It is the wins against these other teams that are the most important. If we take points from any of the top 6 or 7 clubs then that would be a bonus.
Leicester City has the structure, facilities and desire to hold their own in the Premier League. Obviously new talent needs to be brought in, but this would be to strengthen the current nucleolus of the team, not to replace was has been built already. Nigel Pearson stated he would like to ‘Strengthen’ what we have. Now that we have returned to where we belong, I believe Leicester can spend many years in the Premier League.
5. Who are your stand out players in the side at the moment?
Danny Drinkwater has been absolutely outstanding this season. I think Brighton manager Oscar Garcia summed it up best when he said ‘Drinkwater, for me, is the best midfielder in the division. He can do everything”. I think that Riyad Mahrez is another discovered hidden gem from the scouting team; he has fitted in very well and has proven to be a rather talented winger.
6. If you could take any Reading player at the moment, who would it be and why?
Alex Pearce is a good central defender. He and Wes Morgan would certainly make a formidable pair. But in saying that; Wes Morgan and Marcin Wasilewski are an intimidating couple.
Pavel Pogrebnyak is another decent player, he would fit in well as a strike partner for Jamie Vardy.
7. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see on Monday from Pearson?
Schmeichel, Moore, Morgan, Wasilewski, Konchesky, Knockaert, James, Drinkwater, Mahrez, Nugent, Vardy (If fit) if not, then Wood.
8. What is your prediction for the game?
Goes without saying, I want a Leicester win. In saying that, Reading seems to enjoy the 3-1 score line when you host us. I think it will be a close interesting battle. You are looking for a play off spot and we need to return to our winning ways. Our next achievement is to take the Championship trophy. I am going for a 2-1 Leicester win.