Harding: Boss had problems with me

DEFENDER Dan Harding is convinced his lack of opportunities at Portman Road stem from 'personal problems' manager Jim Magilton has with him.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

DEFENDER Dan Harding is convinced his lack of opportunities at Portman Road stem from 'personal problems' manager Jim Magilton has with him.

Harding is now on loan at Reading until the end of the season, but the 25-year-old endured a miserable time under Magilton before and after he went on loan to Southend United.


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Things got worse for him when he was left out of their FA Cup tie at Chelsea recently despite starting the previous game in a superb 4-1 victory at Crystal Palace, his one and only league appearance for the Blues this season.

The former England Under 21 player said: “I found out Reading were interested. I knew they had seen me play a few games so I was delighted when they came in for me.

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“I played in our 4-1 win at Crystal Palace but I was left out completely when we played Chelsea in the FA Cup.

“I went from playing in a team that won 4-1 to not even being in the squad.

“It obviously showed he (Magilton) had a personal problem with me. It was nothing to do with football. Then he told me Reading had come in and that I could go. That was it as far as I was concerned.

“Obviously, I was disappointed when it became clear I wasn't part of the manager's plans so it was brilliant when a new challenge came about.”

Harding was not in the Reading squad for the 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers last Saturday, though he did travel with his new team-mates.

He added: “I've come to a club that is doing really well. The lads in the team deserve to be there. I can't complain if I don't play straight away so I just have to train hard and hope things progress from there.

“Steve Coppell knows me and what I can do. I was only a kid at Brighton when he was manager there. He did a fantastic job and I was in and around the first-team, though I didn't play many games.

“I've come here on loan and if I can prove myself I hope something can happen at the end of it. I can play anywhere down the left-hand side and if there is a hole that needs to be filled I can fill it.

“I want to help with whatever needs to be done. Hopefully along the way I can impress a few people and earn a permanent contract.”

Harding is on loan at the Madejski Stadium until the end of the season when he then becomes a free agent.

The move surprised many Reading fans who questioned why the Royals needed a player who could not hold down a regular place in a mid-table Town side.

But they insist they have made an astute signing by landing Harding who will provide much-needed cover anywhere down the left.

Coppell knew the Gloucester-born player from his time in charge of Brighton when Harding was a youngster.

His displays for the south-coast club led to a trumpeted �850,000 move to Leeds United in 2005. But he struggled for first-team football at Elland Road and eventually left for Ipswich in a swap deal with Ian Westlake and around �400,000 cash.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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