Ipswich Town legend relishing Blues’ start to the season

Reading Manager Nigel Adkins

Reading Manager Nigel Adkins - Credit: PA WIRE

Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie is relishing the Blues’ challenging start to the season at promotion hopefuls, Reading.

The Royals were relegated at the end of last season from the Premier League but, having won promotion to the top flight twice since 2006, the Berkshire club should be among the front-runners at the top of the table, especially with Nigel Adkins, who steered Southampton to promotion in May 2012, in charge.

Town follow up their opening day clash at the Madjeski Stadium, on August 3, with a home game against Millwall a week later, before away games at newly-relegated QPR and Birmingham sandwich Brian McDermott’s Leeds visiting Portman Road.

Mick McCarthy’s men also face an early season trip to FA Cup winners Wigan on September 21, another team expected to be in the mix for honours, as the Championship takes on a daunting look once again.

“It’s a tough start but someone had to get it and I would rather be playing teams of that (Reading, QPR) calibre than those teams that are expected to be struggling at the bottom,” said the former Blues and England defender.

“The lads will be right up for the game and, following a great end to last season, the team will be desperate to get stuck in.

“Reading, QPR and Wigan will be right up there, with the parachute payments they receive from the Premier League, as will the likes of Leeds and Leicester, but why not Ipswich Town as well?

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“The fans will back the team like they always do, Mick McCarthy has turned the club around, and a good start will breed confidence.”

Beattie made his debut for Town in the summer of 1972 and made a triumphant start as a Blues side went to Old Trafford and defeated a Manchester United team featuring legends George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.

Beattie recalled: “We beat them 2-1 on the opening day which was a great way to start the season.

“Town are capable of winning at Reading no doubt about it and a good start is so important, as a run of defeats obviously affects a team’s league position but also morale.”