Date:Monday November 13 2006
Steve Coppell is adamant that he isn`t and won`t be losing sleep over Steve Sidwell`s expiring contract.
Sidwell, 23, has been playing the best football of his career at Reading this season, thriving on the challenge of the Premiership. But come the end of the season the player will be out of contract and negotiations with a new club could start as soon as December in a pre-empted deal.
And although fans may be worried about losing the lynchpin of their midfield, Steve Coppell insists it is not a problem for him:
"I accepted the situation during the summer. In a way, if I was him, I'd probably be doing the same thing.
'The bottom line is that he has to be producing a level of performance. He's a lot tougher on himself than a lot of the others."
Siddy has been at the top of his game all season and has flourished at the top level, winning important tackles and managing to score a couple of goals too.
The former Arsenal youth player has long been admired by Stuart Pearce who would be only too eager to bring him to the (at the moment struggling) Man City - if he is still there come the summer. Ian Dowie`s Charlton were also linked with the player last summer as were Everton, Aston Villa and even Villareal.
"I appreciate it must really be an exciting time for any young player coming to the end of their contract.
"Big clubs might be after him and there might be a possibility of foreign football."
However Coppell does not want to appear as if he has accepted the loss of Sidwell, in fact Coppell is as ever keen to keep the player as he was before contract talks broke down in the summer. It seems though he just wants what is best for the player and for the club:
"He has to make sure he has to perform but Siddy is a good player. He has got to play well for the team.
'We will keep knocking at the door and try to entice him to sign for us.
'He has got to prove himself by not talking in the newspapers but by playing well on a weekend."
Let`s hope that Sidders chooses to stay, he`s played a pivotal role in the season so far and last years record breaking campaign and it would be great to se the winning team of 05/06 sticking together. Finally, (dare I say it?) Sidwell could prove a very hard player to replace...
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