Writer: Chris Kitley
Date:Saturday August 9 2008
The City Ground
The wait is over, the football season is back, and I for one can't contain my excitement.
The first game of the season for the Royals is a bit of a wild card as they face a rather unknown entity in the form of Nottingham Forest.
There were two divisions seperating the teams last season so this game will present a tricky test between a team on the slide and a team on the up.
A win for the Royals and confidence will be sky high as they look to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Steve Coppell on the task ahead:
'The summer has been a decent preparation for us after an initial unsetlling period.
'The players have applied themselves, and we can look back on the five weeks and say we've done OK. Compared to previous seasons we're in a decent position.
'It's straight into the deep end with three games in seven days, and the squad will be tested to its fullest depth.
'As always at this time, you're anxious because you want the team to do well. You hope for a good start, to give a good first impression but still recognise it will be a tough challenge over the year.
'The first month will determine a lot of things as regards the capability of teams and their ambitions.
'Every game is difficult, there's no such thing as an easy fixture, especially in the first month. Everyone is bubbly, full of energy and it'a difficult start. Every team's agenda is still to be determined so it will be an eye opener.'
Forest have got one striker fit, and that's Robert Earnshaw, so they probably wish they have no strikers fit.
New signing Adny Cole has a calf injury but has a slim chance of playing, Paul Anderson, Joe Garner and former Royal Nathan Tyson are all definitely ruled out.
He's rubbish, but as I've slated him I'm sure he'll score.
Andre Bikey and Adam Federici are in Beijing for the Olympics. Apparently Bikey really fancies himself for 110m hurdles.
Michael Duberry is now a mjor doubt, Brun Gunnarsson and Graeme Murty definitely miss out.
A blessing in disguise that he got injured at the Euros. The Czech international has the potential to tear this league apart and will hopefully start by chopping down the Forest defence (sorry, couldn't resist).
Back in 1998 Forest relegated Reading with a 1-0 win at the City ground.
The last time the two teams faced each other was Forest's relegation season. Reading won 1-0.
Tough one to call this. As long as the Royals aren't over confident they should get the win. Forest are traditionally a massive club, but they were two divisions below Reading last season and the quality should shine through. Having said that, the Forest players will be hungry with something to prove. My Prediction: Forest 0-1 Reading (Lita)
Date:Saturday August 9 2008
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