Time to deliver warns Sidwell - 05/08/2005
STEVE SIDWELL insists it’s time for Reading to stop talking and start producing as they prepare to kick off their Coca-Cola Championship season at home to Plymouth Argyle tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
Having missed out on a play-off position on the final day of the campaign two years on the trot, Royals are desperate not to suffer such a heartbreak finale again.
There has been plenty of movement at new-look Royals this summer with Leroy Lita, Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt, Graham Stack, John Oster, Chris Makin and Brynjar Gunnarsson arriving and Nicky Forster, Les Ferdinand, Martin Keown, Ricky Newman, Lloyd Owusu, Paul Brooker, Bas Savage and Dean Morgan departing.
And Sidwell said: “We’ve had a good pre-season and now it’s crunch time. It’s time for us to let our football do the talking.
“This is what all the hard work is about and it would be great to get off to a winning start, although I wouldn’t say a win is vital.”
He added: “All the new boys have settled in well. There have been some very good additions to the squad and there is now good competition.
“We have come close on the last couple of occasions and now I think we’re better prepared to go one better.”
Sidwell is recognised as one of the best midfielders outside the top flight and has been watched by several Premiership sides such as Everton, Charlton and Portsmouth.
However, the 22-year-old insists he needs to produce more if Reading are to realise their dreams and clinch promotion.
“I certainly want to score more goals than last year,” said the tigerish midfielder, who netted five times.
“Last season I said I didn’t reach my own high standards and I know I can play better. But I feel good and I just want to get out there and get started.”
Sidwell will partner James Harper in the centre of the park, while Glen Little and Bobby Convey are likely to start on the wings.
Striker Dave Kitson is a doubt, but he has made excellent progress with his knee injury and could yet feature. Manager Steve Coppell, though, will make a final decision tomorrow.
Nicky Shorey looks set to return at left back, while Chris Makin could get a place on the bench alongside fellow new boys Stephen Hunt and John Oster.
Graham Stack has a thumb injury but could be named as a substitute.
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