Royals ready to shuffle pack
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Reading boss Steve Coppell says he may be ready to rotate his side.
Reading boss Steve Coppell says he may be ready to rotate his side to reward those players who helped elevate The Royals to The Premiership.
Coppell used Wednesday's 4-3 Carling Cup loss at the hands of Liverpool to give rare starts to John Oster, Glen Little and Brynjar Gunnarsson, and despite the defeat, all three players did their chances of future inclusion no harm.
After a superb start to their debut season in the top flight, Reading are currently sitting proudly in the top half of the table, but Coppell may be ready to shuffle his pack in Saturday's game against Portsmouth.
"In many ways, Liverpool was a great game for us. If we had been tanked there 6-0, everyone would have been questioning my logic in sending out that team," said Coppell.
"But we came out of it with goals and my main squad players got 90 minutes under their belts in a great atmosphere too.
"I have been reading about crowds going down but that was just amazing to play in front of 40-odd thousand people. It really served a purpose as far as we were concerned.
"Glen Little, if he had been fit at the start of the season, he would have played and could have been the starter now. In the end, Seol came in and did ever so well.
"John Oster was pushed into that central midfield role, but he is growing into it and relishing it now, so I would have no hesitation in using him either in that role or in a wide position. He gives us that little bit extra comfort on the ball."
Reading did allow fellow squad player Graham Stack join Leeds United on loan on Friday, and in response have recalled Adam Federici from a temporary spell at Bristol City to become Marcus Hahnemann's deputy.
Coppell explained that former Arsenal goalkeeper Stack was allowed to move to Elland Road, as he was keen for first-team football.
"He needs to play. It has been frustrating for him," said Coppell.
"In a way, if you have got the mentality, it is one of the best jobs in football to be number two goalkeeper, but he wants to play.
"He knows Dennis [Wise] from his Millwall days, so there is a certain element of familiarity there and what a great stage to go and play."
Stack may be the last Royal to go out on loan however, as Coppell has been vastly impressed with the standard of the Premiership reserve league and believes his fringe players may be better served in the second-string competition rather than The Championship.
"Now the Carling Cup games are out of the way, we do have that option but I have been really pleased with the quality of the Premiership reserve league.
"The quality of it is far beyond what we had last year and the games at that level now are perhaps better suited to our players than having them go out and playing in some Championship games.
"We have had three or four managers who have been asking over the last couple of months."