Royle fears Goater

FEED the Goat and he shall score.No one knows that more than Blues boss Joe Royle who signed Bermudan striker Shaun Goater for Manchester City for £400,000 on transfer deadline day in 1998, writes Derek Davis.

FEED the Goat and he shall score.

No one knows that more than Blues boss Joe Royle who signed Bermudan striker Shaun Goater for Manchester City for £400,000 on transfer deadline day in 1998, writes Derek Davis.

Royle has warned of the Reading striker's scoring prowess ahead of Town's trip to the Madejski Stadium tomorrow.

Goater, who picked up an MBE from the Queen for his services to football on his native island, has hit a career total of 243 goals, including one against Preston in the 3-3 FA Cup draw last week.


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Royle said: "It was fantastic to see him get his MBE, he is a true gentleman of soccer. It is nice to see a good guy do well. The Goat is terrific and is a great example to many people.

"I got letters for six months when I signed him from people telling me he wasn't good enough to play for Man City. He ended up being a legend there."

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Goater hit 103 goals in 212 games for City and helped them win promotion in successive years under Royle.

The Town boss said: "The Goat has made the best of every ounce he has got. He got three goals in six games when we got relegated. Everyone was telling me he wasn't good enough for the Second Division. He then got 30 goals in Division Two, they then said he certainly wasn't good enough for Division One and he got another 30 goals. So he is used to proving people wrong. He even scored a good rate in the Premiership even though he had a cartilage operation.

"From the reports we have, he was Reading's best player against Preston and that doesn't surprise me – so beware the Goat."

Goater is likely to be paired up front with Lloyd Owusu, although Colchester United reject Dean Morgan is pressing for a start after scoring for the reserves in midweek. Recent signing Dave Kitson from Cambridge United has been struggling with a hamstring injury and is likely to start on the bench.

Top scorer Nicky Forster is sidelined with a stomach strain and won't be involved.

Reading boss Steve Coppell revealed he had turned a £750,000 bid down from Wigan last month for the striker, who hit a hat-trick against Town at the Madejski last season.

Town striker Pablo Counago was dismissed in that game but the 11 goal top-scorer has learned from that experience and has been the model of self-discipline this season.

Counago, fresh from a short trip home to Spain, is likely to start with Shekfi Kuqi as Darren Bent is struggling with an ankle injury. Dean Bowditch will also be looking to play a part at some point after a well-taken goal in midweek for the reserves.

Skipper Jim Magilton, who came off the bench to help Town beat Derby last week, will resume his starting role.

Tommy Miller is likely to miss out, while Martijn Reuser faces competition from Ian Westlake for the left midfield berth after the youngster recovered from flu.

Drissa Diallo has been ruled out, although he could play in an emergency after showing no reaction to his recently recovered knee injury.

Nathan Abbey will be making his last appearance on the bench for Town as his one-month contract ends. Lewis Price is making good progress from a finger injury and has resumed training but Town also have Andy Marshall back at Portman Road following his loan spell at Wolves.

Marshall's return lessens the amount Royle has in his budget to bring in a new loan player, which he now says can wait until the end of January after the Premiership clubs see what they have left following the transfer window.

Royle admits to making an enquiry about a player but has to wait until the Premier League club concerned finds adequate cover themselves.

He said: "Towards the end of the month will be a better time. The one serious enquiry I have made was dependent on movement to that club and that has not happened yet."

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