Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Out for revenge

I hear Stephen Hunt has been bleating on about how Reading are out to get their revenge on Spurs this evening following our 6-4 victory against them in late December. However, after gifting them a draw in the original third round tie, and giving them the satisfaction of embarrassing our keeper, I think there is enough of a reason for us to go out their gunning for revenge.

We may not always be the most popular club in the country, but I hope that all the neutrals get behind us tonight. Reading have once again undermined the FA Cup by continuing to play a weakened side. It's all very well a club doing it in the Carling Cup if they are competing on multiple fronts, but for a side like Reading to treat the world's oldest cup competition with such disrespect infuriates me.

Reading is not an easy place to go. Our visit there last season was a horrid day out. Although we will see their fringe players this evening, I expect another tough match. Just because Coppell will be resting some of his bigger names, doesn't mean that the eleven he selects will roll-over. Take Leroy Lita for example, he is trying to play his way to a transfer and will be keen to attract new suitors, potentially making him far more dangerous than Kitson or Doyle who could well be jaded from their weekend's exploits.

As for our team, I don't expect many changes. Jenas will surely return in place of the hapless Kevin-Prince Boateng, but I believe that the rest of our team from Saturday are available. Since we're a side currently playing two matches a week, Ramos may opt to give some of the guys a rest - perhaps Defoe or Kaboul will get a start? Maybe Robbo's "break" from first team duties will end and he'll be drafted back, fresh, eager and lapse-free?

Personally I think tonight's match is far more important than most people are making out. Yes we have a good chance of getting to Wembley through the Carling Cup, and yes even if we beat Reading we are unlikely to progress much further since lady-luck was not shining on us when the fourth round draw was made for the FA Cup. But, Ramos needs to prove that we are indeed a side on the up. I think he still has a fair way to go to show that he's a better boss than Jol. We made it to two quarter finals and one semi final last year, in addition to finishing fifth in the League. But if we're not careful, this season may well end up with a mid-table finish, one good cup run and two poor to mediocre ones.

Tonight is about proving we are a decent side. A side that is clinical, competitive and hungry to win every match. An away trip to Old Trafford won't be easy, but I'd rather we had the chance to measure up against them than spend the weekend watching other teams compete in such a prestigious competition.


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