Forster plots to end run
NICKY Forster will be looking to end his old club's remarkable unbeaten run when Town take them on tonight.The Royals have gone 18 games without defeat in the league since slipping up at home against Plymouth on the opening day of the season and have also won all three of their league cup matches, to take the sequence to 21.
By Derek Davis
NICKY Forster will be looking to end his old club's remarkable unbeaten run when Town take them on tonight.
The Royals have gone 18 games without defeat in the league since slipping up at home against Plymouth on the opening day of the season and have also won all three of their league cup matches, to take the sequence to 21.
Forster, who scored 67 goals in 214 appearances during his six years at Reading, can't help but be impressed, and also believes they can maintain their good form.
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He said: “It is a fantastic run. Traditionally they have had a blow-up but it doesn't look like happening this time. The general feeling is that Reading and Sheffield United will go up automatically and I just can't see them relinquishing their lead at the top.
“Their consistency is the key because everyone else is beating each other, except those two who are grinding out results week after week.
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“Reading are a settled side. The manager rarely changes his side except for injury or suspension, and they are a very strong outfit.
“The back five have been together for two seasons now. In midfield only Bobby Convey is a new addition and the same up front. Over the past couple of years there have only been a couple of new additions.
“It is the same with Sheffield United, who have been together a while.”
Forster made his initial starting comeback from a knee injury at the Madejski after scoring as a substitute against Crewe a week earlier, but was part of an Ipswich team that ended a well-beaten side against his old mates.
The striker admits that the loss hurt, especially the way they played, and that Town will be doubly determined to put the performance right.
He said: “That defeat will be used as a motivation to give a better account of ourselves. We certainly have not allowed it to fester in our mind and worry we will play that bad again. We will use it to be positive.
“That was an off-day and no matter who we are playing we will be better.”
Town lost 2-0 last month and the previous six games against the Royals have shown a remarkable symmetry, with a 3-1 home win reversed by the same scoreline three years ago and the last two seasons have finished 1-1 home and away.
Forster believes it will be hard for Town to keep that run going by winning 2-0 but anything is possible in football.
He said: “All teams are going to have to be at the top of their game to get any sort of result against them.
“That applies to us too but we are capable of surprising them and that could start a little wobble.
“Reading have come to Portman Road over the years and they have been good open games that usually end in draws.
“The way things are then a draw would be a positive result for us because they are a strong side and are second in the league deservedly.”
Reading have used just 18 players this season, fewer than any other Championship side, while Town have used 24, a factor that Forster believes has affected Town's early lack of consistency.
He said: “Ours is a young team that has not played that much together and that was evident with the goal we conceded at Coventry with a mix-up in communication between Jim and Jimmy.
“There are little signs like that which show we are not completely comfortable and it is the same with me and Sam.
“But that will come as we play more games and with training alongside each other. The team has not had a period of stability since the start of the season and that all plays a part.
“The fans will see that and the goals will come because we do need to create more chances and score more goals.”
Although Forster has yet to score away, or Sam Parkin at home, he was happy enough with their performance at Coventry but admitted they could do with taking more opportunities.
He said: “The game took time to settle down and we didn't get a shot in until about half-an-hour which was myself.
“There were periods when Sam and I were not in the game but in the second half we dominated. We held the ball up well and linked the play up better and were key in our attacks.
“We could do with scoring more goals but that will come.”
Forster scored on his Blues debut against Cardiff and then again in the win over Crewe.
Another goal tonight could dent the Royals' run and stretch the Blues' own unbeaten sequence to five.