The Jason De Vos column
IT is party time at Reading and they thoroughly deserved winning promotion with half-a-dozen games to go.Reading are by far and away the best side in the league and they have been great from the game after they lost on the opening day.
IT is party time at Reading and they thoroughly deserved winning promotion with half-a-dozen games to go.
Reading are by far and away the best side in the league and they have been great from the game after they lost on the opening day.
They went on a phenomenal run and have been up at the top for a long, long time.
Looking at the squad I would say Reading will be looking at Wigan and West Ham and not only want to stay in the Premiership next season but do well.
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Their secret was not losing a great deal of players and those players who have come in have been sensational. Kevin Doyle is probably the bargain of the season, if not the player of the year. To think this time last season he was playing semi-professional in Ireland. That is what dreams are made of.
Also Reading have been able to pick a settled side and have used just 21 players this year whereas we have used 30 or more. That is not an excuse for us, it is reality. We know that the best sides keep the same team week-in, week-out and it virtually picks itself.
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Reading will be looking for a record points total and will want to go up as champions - and I can see them doing it.
When I was at Wigan we were up with four games to go and the pressure was off so we just relaxed and won all four of our remaining games. I didn't play because I had been nursing a broken bone in a foot so I was able to rest, but it is a great feeling to have things wrapped up early.
Who goes up with Reading is interesting and while it is still mathematically possible we will be looking to reach the play-offs and as we have seen before the team with momentum tends to do well in the finals.
A couple of weeks ago I would have said Leeds were going to overtake Sheffield United and get into second spot but now I'm not so sure.
It looks like the Blades will limp over the line, although I guess a lot of people are hoping they fall over before reaching the line. That is probably down to Neil Warnock being so unpopular but I feel they will succeed.
Then after that it is the play-offs and there are lots of teams who still fancy their chances.
THANKS once again for your interesting e-mails. James Bruce from Clacton tells me he thought Darren Currie was outstanding against Hull City and asks why nobody took a chance on him earlier in his career.
I have to agree, James, Darren was superb and I will go further and say he is the most skilful player I have ever played with. He has a fantastic touch and a wonderfully deceptive way about him on the pitch that leaves defenders all over the place.
If he had the pace of Danny Haynes then Darren would have been playing in the Premiership 10 years ago. You can't coach the talent he has, you either have it in your nature or not.
Getting a chance is often down to luck.
In my own experience there have been times when I thought it could be the end of my career. But then you catch a break and someone sees you and likes you.
I was at Darlington, not the most glamorous club in the world, but worked my way up but could so easily have disappeared as many other players I know, who were just as good, have done.
AS we know all too well at Ipswich, injured players spend a lot of time with the physios and our fitness coach Simon Thadani - who is not an ex-player by the way but a former RAF instructor.
But Simon is brilliant at mixing up training with lots of ideas that get you back to fitness in an interesting way.
Among the many activities he uses is head tennis and it was while I was in the gym doing some training myself when I saw one of our Academy boys Sammy Moore, who has recently signed a new deal and is pushing for a first-team place, playing head tennis with Simon.
Now an FA Youth Cup winner Sammy may be, but he was well and truly beaten by Simon and I was not sure whether to applaud Simon or slaughter Sammy for losing to a squash player.
Still, I'm sure it won't be mentioned in training today - at all.
WHAT a fantastic result by Arsenal on Tuesday night against Juventus. I know 3-0 would have been nicer and it could have been that but it is still a great lead to take into the second leg and they are more than capable of hitting Juve on the break and nicking an away goal.
It is all the more remarkable based on league form. Juve are far and away the top side in Italy, like Chelsea are here, yet as we saw last year with Liverpool league form goes out of the window.
It is like another season, never mind competition.
Mind you that Champions' League final when Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to go on and win, will serve as a warning to Arsenal who will be aware that these things can happen.
Of course Juve made it harder for themselves by having two players sent off, and Patrick Vieira will also miss the return leg as he, too, is suspended.
Juve made some foolish tackles after letting the frustration of the game get the better of them and you could understand why their coach was so upset afterwards.
For the players it was all in the heat of moment, the pressure of the occasion and the frustration at being on the receiving end of a defeat like that.
In Tuesday night's other quarter-final Barcelona will be relatively pleased with a 0-0 and I fancy them in the second leg against Benfica in a one-off game, as they have to be strongest team in the word at the moment.
I'M not a big Didier Drogba fan with all his diving exploits but I have to say I don't blame him for the hand-ball incident against Manchester City.
It is a reactive instinct to try and bring the ball down and then blast it into the net and that is exactly what he did.
He also admitted it afterwards, although he would be foolish to try to deny it. It is up to the officials to then see what thousands of other people in the stadium saw and disallow it.
All the controversy that followed could have simply been avoided by using instant replay.
By the time the teams were back to restart the television pundits had seen it was hand-ball and were commenting on it.
I know I bang on about this but it really is time the FA introduced it, never mind what FIFA say for the moment.