Town's trust in Forster

IPSWICH Town will be hoping Reading striker Nicky Forster can continue scoring killer goals against Wigan Athletic and help the Blues to automatic promotion.

By Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town will be hoping Reading striker Nicky Forster can continue scoring killer goals against Wigan Athletic and help the Blues to automatic promotion.

Town must win at Brighton first, but they can be confident that the Royals will be going all out to secure a win over the Latics at the JJB tomorrow.

Forster, who ironically almost joined Wigan in March, has been a bogeyman to the Latics over the years. He netted both goals in a 2-0 win at the JJB Stadium last year, as well as breaking Wigan hearts in the 2001 play-off semi-finals.

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The Royals looked down and out when Forster came on as a substitute and turned the game in the final four minutes to book Reading a place at the Millennium Stadium.

Forster was on his way to signing for Wigan just before transfer deadline day but the deal fell through when manager Steve Coppell, who went to the same school as Joe Royle, insisted on a clause excluding him from playing in tomorrow's game, and any subsequent play-off matches, against them.

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Forster said: “It's strange I could have been at Wigan. It was a similar situation to the Sunderland match. I have the greatest respect for both clubs, but my loyalty lies with Reading and I'll be doing everything I can to get us the win.

“I have done well against them in the past such as in that play-off game and I also scored twice there last season.

“That was probably the highlight for me last season as I then had problems with my stomach. Until recently that was the last time I really felt comfortable and was on top of my game. Hopefully I can do well again.”

Reading need to better any result rivals West Ham achieve at Watford, or hope Preston beat Derby, to finish in the top six.

Meanwhile, Wigan skipper Matt Jackson admits the top Premership strikers will be relishing playing against him should the Latics get promoted.

Jackson said: “I can't see Thierry Henry losing sleep at the prospect of my return.

“There are always players who help a team up and never play (at the higher level) - you can't fight nature and I know what this body looks like getting out of bed in the morning.

“But at this stage of my career, being part of a team that got promoted would be a massive achievement.

“I've got another year on my contract at Wigan and I'd love to pit myself against the best players. Right now, though, I can't look past Sunday.”

Even so Jackson would love the opportunity and added: “It would be fantastic to test ourselves up there. Statistically, you look at the promoted clubs and it's a difficult struggle.

“But it would be lovely to have those problems.

“The Premiership is where all the sexy bits of football are the fame and recognition, any player will tell it's the ultimate to play in it.”

Jackson played in the Everton side that won the 1995 FA Cup and was sold by Joe Royle to Norwich, but he feels winning promotion would top that cup win.

He said: “As a kid you play football in the park you imagine you've scored the winner in a final, but as a professional, to get a team promotion after 46 games it is pretty much the ultimate achievement.”

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