Date:Saturday May 12 2007
13th May 2007
Well the curtain finally comes down on what has once again been a very eventful season at Ewood Park. Pulsating adventures across Europe, a demolition of Chelsea (without reward) in another domestic cup semi-final and the goal-scoring exploits of a world class striker are some of the highlights.
Unfortunately, though, it appears as though the season will end without any recognisable reward. A win against Reading will strengthen our claim for the Intertoto so hopefully results won`t transpire against us and we can claim that spot for an early wake up call to the next campaign.
Mark Hughes will want to finish the season strongly as will Benni McCarthy. His claims in the press this weekend that he wants to sign for Chelsea will have come as a blow to Rovers but I doubt it is an indication that he is unhappy. He will want to keep scoring as he has an outside chance of winning the golden boot, if he scores a hat-trick!
Let`s not forget Reading`s achievements though this season. They have been a true pleasure to watch and deserve all the plaudits they have had. I expect them to become an established Premiership side and that is why Sunday`s game will be difficult.
However, I feel both teams will make an effort but their will be a relaxed 'end of season` feel to the match. It will make for a good spectacle I`m sure with a stack of goals.
Reading boss Steve Coppell: 'This game is not high on pressure. we will just go there and do our normal stuff. From the game here, they were one of the hardest teams we've played. They don't give much away at the back and, looking at them going forward, you would think they may be higher, but Europe may have affected them.'
Mark Hughes on Europe: "We haven't got a problem with the Intertoto at all, we have planned for it,' said Hughes. I always felt we'd give it a good go to try to get in the UEFA Cup by league position, if it wasn't to be then we applied as we feel that the Intertoto is a route that we want to follow.
'It is an opportunity to play in Europe again and if we can get that place that is on offer then it will be a decent season for us.'
Jason Roberts is suspended thanks to the ludicrous red card given to him by Rob Styles in midweek. This could mean a chance for Matt Derbyshire or Shabani Nonda.
Elsewhere, David Dunn could return for the last game but its unlikely.
Rovers from: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Mokoena, Dunn, Pedersen, McCarthy, Nonda, Tugay, Derbyshire, Berner, Brown, Henchoz, Gallagher, Peter.
He will be desperately trying to find those goals to win him the Golden Boot but I feel it is worth sitting back and watching the whole team for the last game of the season. Another sterling effort from a team that is oozing with potential and, with the right signings and keeping hold of the stars, can make a real impression next season. So sit back and watch a whole team putting on a great display.
Steve Sidwell, one of Readings players of the season won`t feature as it is being widely tipped that he will sign for Chelsea in the next few days.
Reading are also missing a number of key names. Glen Little (Achilles), Graeme Murty (calf), Bobby Convey (knee) and Ibrahima Sonko (knee) are all absent.
Reading: Hahnemann, Federici, Halford, de la Cruz, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Bikey, Shorey, Seol, Oster, Gunnarsson, Harper, Hunt, Kitson, Doyle, Lita, Long, Sidwell.
The front men have been revelations this season for Reading, in fact the whole squad has. However, the threat from Leroy Lita and Kevin Doyle, with Dave Kitson will mean it is going to be a busy afternoon for Rovers.
In eight previous meeting between the clubs Reading have only won once, way back in 1986.
Rovers have once more been dealt the most red cards in the Prem, seven.
A total of twenty penalties have been awarded in Rovers games, a far cry from that period a few years back when we went 49 games without being awarded one.
Alan Wiley will oversee this game.
This game will be competitive but will still have an end of the season feel to it. I fancy Rovers extra attacking quality to shine through and a fair few goals will be scored. I was almost right with my prediction I the Charlton match but feel I will have more success this time. Rovers to win 4-2. Benni to bag a brace.
Well it could be anywhere from Eastern Europe to Wales depending on qualification for the Intertoto Cup. I predict a game against Bodo Glimit!
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Date:Saturday May 12 2007
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