Kitson aware of Town party poopers

IN what is week of celebration at Reading, manager Steve Coppell is aware that Ipswich could spoil the party.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

IN what is week of celebration at Reading, manager Steve Coppell is aware that Ipswich could spoil the party.

The Royals chairman Sir John Madejski officially received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace on Thursday for services to charity.


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Next Tuesday at Doncaster will be Coppell's 1,000 match as a manager and joins an elite group that includes his former school pal and Blues boss Joe Royle.

In between Reading are looking to mark the return of striker Dave Kitson and Glenn Little with their 19th win of the season but just their second in eight.

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Their arrival has prompted Coppell into making changes following their 2-2 draw with bottom club Charlton on Tuesday.

As well as Kitson, Jay Tabb, Brynjar Gunnarsson, Andre Bikey and James Harper, are all in contention while Jimmy Kebe will get a fitness test this morning.

Coppell said: “There will be changes. We have got a number of games coming up, some lads have played every minute and it might be time to step back now we have got loads of fresh legs raring to go. I have two teams of equal ability and it could be their test.

“There has been an awful lot of head scratching and a hell of a lot of thinking about what team we'll put out.

"They all realise we have a large number of games in a short space of time and it is to the benefit of everybody that we are successful and finish on a high.”

Kitson is set to make his second debut for the Royals against Ipswich today and admits he regrets ever leaving in the first place.

He said: “It was my fault - I made the decision to go to Stoke, no-one made me and it was probably the worst footballing decision I have made.

"That Reading team probably had two or three more years in it and it was a shame to see it break up prematurely.

"I felt it should have still been in the Premier League and I was angry that it wasn't.

"Everyone gets frustrated in their job, but rather than looking at what I had and what I could have achieved I chose not to be a part of that.

"I have played for Cambridge and Reading, not huge fashionable clubs and I thought going to Stoke might be a chance to help another unfashionable side do well.

"It was just not right for me. In hindsight it was a mistake.'

The on-loan Stoke striker has cast his long-term future with the Potters in doubt after admitting that joining the club was "the worst footballing decision I have made."

The 29-year-old became Stoke's record signing last summer when he signed from Reading for �5.5million but after just 16 Premier League appearances - and no goals - is back with until the end of the season.

Kitson also hit out at Stoke manager Tony Pulis for not playing him often enough in his preferred striking role.

Pulis has since reinforced his squad with the signing of James Beattie, and after the former Sheffield United man started his career at the Britannia Stadium with five goals in seven games Kitson's lack of goals meant he had to leave.

He said: "What I needed was a club where I was wanted, which I already had, and a family which was happy, which I had.

“I threw all of that away for what I thought was going to be a new challenge. That was the wrong decision and that was my fault. I am just delighted to be back.

“I am frustrated I never got the chance to show what I could do. There were times when I wondered why I had been brought to the club, but that is in the past and now I can concentrate on getting Reading into the Premier League.

“I was more bemused there. I had been bought for a lot of money and wasn't sure I was being utilised in the way I thought I was going to be.

“You do have days when you wonder what you are doing. I played two games in left midfield and the majority of the others in centre midfield and it was difficult.”

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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