Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Friday August 7 2009
8th August 2009
Football is back guys, and the Royals entertain Nottingham Forest in our opening game of the 2009/2010 Championship season.
'I am very optimistic, both as a player and a coach. My own expectation is to be up and around the play-offs. Why not?'
The Royals will have to make do without Noel Hunt, who is struggling with a hip injury, and brother Stephen is also doubtful after a groin injury has seen him miss most of preseason. James Harper is also a doubt, and the game may come too soon for Marek Matejovsky. New signing Matt Mills is set to be on the bench, after only playing 45 minutes of pre season with old club Doncaster.
Davies has been the surprise of pre season and looks set to have done enough to earn himself a start on Saturday. He has spent the last 2 season's on loan at Aldershot but has come back and bagged a number of goals from midfield, including a stunning free kick against Chelsea last weekend. The midfielder has been dubbed the new Steve Sidwell!
James Perch and Julian Bennett are long term injuries in the Forest squad but other than that manager Billy Davies has a near full squad to choose from. He will have to make some difficult decisions upfront with new boys Dele Adebola, David McGoldrick and Dexter Blackstock adding to the strikers already at the club, including former Royal Nathan Tyson.
Paul McKenna has been one of the Championship's most consistant performers in recent seasons whilst at Preston and he has made the move to the City ground. Added to that he has also been given the captaincy and will carry a large amount of responsibilty to help turn Forest into promotion contenders this season.
This game is the reverse of last season's opening day fixture which ended with a goal less draw, with the best chance falling to Kevin Doyle who forced Forest keeper Paul Smith into a fine save with firm header. At the Madejski Stadium last season a Lewis McGugan goal gave the visitors all three points.
The Royals will hope its third time lucky and get on the scoresheet.
Phil Crossley will take charge of this opening day game, his last Reading game was the 1-1 draw away at Southampton. The Saints goalscorer that day was David McGoldrick who this summer joined Nottingham Forest and should make his debut on Saturday.
With Brendan Rodgers taking charge of his first game there will be a lot of expectation at the Madejski Stadium. However Forest have added some quality players to their squad this summer and look more than capable of scoring enough goals to challenge at the top end of the table. An opening day draw, but a good game none the less. 2-2
Tuesday 11th August 2009. Burton Albion (H) Carling Cup Round 1
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Date:Friday August 7 2009
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