Royle relishing Goater reunion

JOE Royle is looking forward to a reunion with 'one of football's gentlemen' on Saturday when Shaun Goater makes his Reading debut against Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

JOE Royle is looking forward to a reunion with 'one of football's gentlemen' on Saturday when Shaun Goater makes his Reading debut against Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

But he will not be too happy if the Royals manage to feed the goat and he scores.

Goater completed his move to the Madejski Stadium over the weekend from Manchester City, where Royle gave him his debut after signing the Bermuda international for £400,000 in 1998.

The striker, who was awarded an MBE for his services to sport and young people in Bermuda, played a huge part in Royle's two successive promotion seasons with City.

He said: "I will look forward to seeing The Goat again, he is truly one of football's gentlemen. He did a fabulous job for me and has been brilliant for Manchester City.

"It will be interesting to see him with Reading but I won't be happy with him if he scores on Saturday."

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Pardew snapped up the 33-year-old for £500,000 from City, after he rejected approaches from Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Wigan, and he has signed a three-year deal.

If he can prove his fitness after missing out on pre-season training, Goater will go into the squad to face Ipswich in the season-opener at Portman Road on Saturday and Pardew is hoping for another big name signing before then.

Pardew said: "He is a big star. In the football world we are not looked upon as one of the most glamorous clubs but we are trying to get there and this is a major step for us. We want to attract more big names and hopefully Shaun will be the first of many."

The Royals lost 3-2 at home to Southampton on Friday and Pardew has made signing a defender his top priority.

Ipswich have no such worries with Georges Santos and Chris Makin expected to return to training today after a calf and thigh injury, respectively, forced them to miss yesterday's session.

John McGreal continues to make good progress on his return from a nine-month lay-off and will play his third game in a week when he lines up against AFC Sudbury at the King's Marsh Stadium tonight. (7.45pm)

Alun Armstrong gets another chance to press for a first-team return, or impress the watching scouts as he continues to look fit and sharp, alongside the lively Dean Bowditch who could do with sticking the ball in the net after a string of good performances without a finish.

Sudbury gained a little revenge over Brigg Town, who beat then in the FA Vase at Upton Park in May, by winning 2-0 there on Saturday

Now, manager and Ipswich Town fan, Gary Harvey will gauge his side's pre-season progress against a young Blues side.

He said: "It will be a big test for us and we will be able to see how far we have come. We will still aim to play our passing game."

Strikers Gary Bennett and Andrew Claydon will be back after missing the Brigg win and new arrival Neil Calver is expected to slot into midfield.

AFC Sudbury: Greygoose, D Head, Girling, Tracey, Bishop, S Head, Hyde, Patrick, Francis, Betson, Norfolk, Cheetham, Banya, Bennett, Claydon, Thompson, Howlett, Calver, Day, Owen, Gardiner.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Price, Mitchell, Richards, Wright, McGreal, Collins, Murray, Abidallah, Bowditch, Armstrong, Reuser, Nash, Peat, Kamara, Bloomfield, Westlake, Craig, Hogg, Reid.

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