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Reading Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 03/10/2002

TOWN return to Blundell Park hoping to carry on with their winning ways after Saturday's triumph at Brighton. There is no chance of Grimsby keeping a winning side together, though, as they are decimated by injuries and suspensions.

Home > 2002-2003 Season > Previews > Reading (a)

The Bottom Line

 Now the Mariners have won their first game of the season, away at Brighton, they now have to start winning at home, but will find it tough against a Reading side who appear to have had no problems stepping up to division one level.

Recent Form


LSheff Utd(a)1-2
LChesterfield(h)0-1 (AET)

Players To Watch



Simon Ford

John Salako

With Steve Chettle and Paul Groves both likely to miss Saturday’s game, it is most likely that the young and pacy defender will start at the heart of the Town defence. Signed in the summer of 2001 to play in the reserves, Ford made a name for himself last season with a number of sterling performances at the back. He was wanted by Wolves in the summer but opted to buy a two year contract at Blundell Park and will no doubt be wanting to win a permanent place in the starting eleven.

The veteran winger signed for Reading from Charlton in January 2002 after a loan spell at the club. The former England player, who made 3 caps played a major part in the club’s promotion success last season on the left flank. His willingness to run to the line and take players on is a major assett for Alan Pardew’s side and Salako is a vital player to provide ammunition for the likes of Jamie Cureton and Tony Rougier up front. Will keep John McDermott busy for the afternoon.

Top Scorers



Cureton 6
Hughes 3

Barnard 2
Pouton 2
Kabba 1
Robinson 1

Team News



  • The Mariners have massive injury problems. Definitely out are Bradley Hughes, Steve Livingstone, Steve Croudson, Sean Allaway, Chris Bolder and Steve Chettle. All of these players have injuries meaning that Danny Coyne and 16 year old Paul Fraser are Town’s only fit keepers.

  • Tony Gallimore meanwhile is suspended for three matches.

  • Doubtful, but not 100% out are Paul Groves, Steve Kabba and Stacy Coldicott.

  • The starting line up front last week, will definitely have one change with either Iain Ward or Darren Barnard filling in at left back. If it is Barnard at left back, Terry Cooke will be given a deserved recall and Stuart Campbell will play on the left. Should Groves not make it then Paul Raven and Simon Ford will play at centre back.

  • George Santos could come in for Stacy Coldicott in the middle of the midfield, while Darren Mansaram could drop to the bench if Steve Kabba makes it.
  • Alan Pardew will be without central defender John Mackie which means that the team may revert back to a 4-4-2 formation with Nicky Shorey starting at right back and Sammy Igoe returning to the midfield.

  • Elsewhere, the Royals have plenty of options up front. Jamie Cureton and Tony Rougier have been playing well up front whilst Nicky Forster is pushing hard along with Martin Butler who scored a hat-trick for the reserves in midweek.

  • Elsewhere, Reading have few injury problems with Adrian Whitbread now back in light training, despite not being fit enough to be considered.

  • Probable Starting XI's


    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott (c)
    Darren Barnard
    Simon Ford
    Paul Groves
    Terry Cooke
    Stuart Campbell
    Alan Pouton
    George Santos
    Paul Robinson
    Darren Mansaram
    Paul Fraser (GK)
    Marcus Hahnemann
    Matthew Upson
    Nicky Shorey
    Adie Williams
    Greame Murty
    Andrew Hughes
    Kevin Watson
    Ricky Newman
    John Salako
    Tony Rougier



    Paul Raven
    Steve Kabba
    Jonny Rowan
    Iain Ward
    Paul Fraser (GK)
    Sammy Igoe
    Martin Butler
    Nathan Tyson
    Nicky Forster
    Jamie Ashdown (GK)

    Last Time Out

    April 1997 was the last time Town played Reading - the season they were relegated from division one. In one of Kenny Swain’s last games in charge of the Mariners, Town won 2-0 with goals from Nicky Southall, now on loan at Norwich and Hartlepool midfielder Tommy Widdrington. The season after – 1997/98 as Town went up, Reading went down hence there not been a meeting between the two sides for five years.

    Town Team: Pearcey, McDermott, Gallimore, Fickling, Lever, Southall, Oster, Shakespeare, Widdrington, Lester, Mendonca.
    Attendance: 4,392

    Reading Head-to-Head (18th on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: 1-0 to the Mariners! Reader's POMs


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