�3.5m sweetener for Royals

READING players have 3.5million reasons for wanting to beat Ipswich tomorrow and win promotion to the Premier League.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

READING players have 3.5million reasons for wanting to beat Ipswich tomorrow and win promotion to the Premier League.

The Royals squad is on a fabulous �3.5m bonus to go up, with some of the top players each getting �250,000 each if the dream is achieved.


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The pay-out will be small change for Reading should they bounce straight back into the top flight with around �60m waiting for them should they succeed.

To give his third-placed side an extra push towards gaining an automatic top two spot manager Steve Coppell has brought back Dave Kitson and Glenn Little.

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Kitson, who has returned initially on loan from Stoke City and Little from Portsmouth, were both part of the side that went up with a record 106 points and have been welcomed back by their old mates.

Shane Long, who scored twice to salvage a point against Charlton in midweek believes they will add impetus.

Although Kitson failed to make an impact with the Potters, he boasted an excellent scoring record at Reading before his �5.5million switch last summer.

He netted 60 goals from 121 starts and 26 substitute appearances between December 2003 and May 2008 after signing from Cambridge United.

Long admitted Kitson's arrival means they all need to perform consistently if they are to stay in the side.

The Republic of Ireland striker said: “With Kitson coming back it is definitely going to push us. He is a different option for the gaffer and a great player - a Premiership-standard player.

“You have to perform every week to try to keep him out of the team, but I am delighted to have him back.

“No-one is guaranteed a place and it does put the pressure on us to perform on the pitch, but if we have an off-day we know we have someone who can come in and change the game because we have a lot of match-winners.

“You want to improve as a player and it's a nice problem for the gaffer as well. He has five to choose from and that is good.”

With all the top teams dropping points Long knows a draw against the bottom club was a wasted opportunity to close on the top two and he does not want a repeat.

Long said: “It is a shame we didn't beat Charlton. I could have got a couple more goals to see them off. I am kicking myself a bit but we need to get three points against Ipswich.

“We are just lucky that Wolves and Birmingham drew. It makes us feel a bit down, though, because that was our chance on Tuesday. But we are seven points behind Wolves with two games in hand. It is all there for the taking for us and we have to keep our heads high.

“It's just unlucky for us. We seem to be scoring goals and unable to keep clean sheets or not scoring and able to keep clean sheets. It will fall for us eventually and we'll kick on.”

Reading's promotion push has stuttered of late, and it is their recent home form that has been the problem.

Coppell's men have failed to win any of their last four matches at Madejski Stadium and Long admitted: “We prided ourselves on our home form the season we went up and our first season in the Premiership. People didn't like coming here, but that is fading away a little bit.

“We have four more home games and if we can pick up 12 points there and try to pick up points away, we will be back in the Premiership. But we have to kick on now and kill off teams when we go one up.

“It will turn for us. We are a good enough squad.”

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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