What somes to mind? Wembley? Keith Branagan saving a penalty? Fabian de Freitas? Maybe. We were dead and buried that day in the Play-Off Final of 1995 and staged a remarkable come back. A return to the top league for the first time in fifteen years followed. Life was up and down for a few seasons and here we are now, the fourth best team in the land!!!
My own favourite memories of Reading come from a coulple of seasons later when, aftre the briefest of visits to the Premiership, we were back in Division One. It was our record breaking season and the two games against Reading were extraordinary.
In the home game, after scoring, John McGinlay took over the gloves as we had no spare stopper on the bench. He put in a top-notch diaplay and we won the game 2-1 with McGinlay the Man of the Match. In the away game, Jimmy Quinn had to take over in goal (why was the trend for no substitute goalies that season?). Unlike McGinlay, he didn’t have any natural talent. But, by hook or by crook, by falling on the ball, jumping the wrong way and catching the ball with his feet, he kept the ball away from the goal. Reading won 3-2 in a topsy-turvy match.
So, it only took Reading a decade to find a way into the top flight and they’ve started well. Unlike Sheffield United and Watford, they’ve won a good number of games and sit in the top half of the table. They’re playing well and, in Steve Coppell, they have a great manager.
This could be a very interesting game!
The two managers have been conducting a mutual love-in before the game.
Big Sam has been impressed.
‘Reading are doing terrifically well at the moment, especially at home.
‘They have got themselves in the top half with a good string of wins. It will be a difficult place to go to and we have our work cut out.
‘We’ve got to make sure we match the sort of performance we put together in the second half against Chelsea.’
Steve Coppell has been equally complimentary.
‘They’ve been in the Premiership a long time now and they have developed their own, distinctive style.
‘I think it’s wrong for people to judge them because they play the Bolton way.
‘As far as I’m concerned, all credit to them. What they’re doing is terrific. It’s a magnificent achievement.’
Reading Team News:
Reading winger (and former Bolton loanee) Glen Little faces a late fitness test on his hamstring, while Bobby Convey is still out.
Midfielder Steve Sidwell is expected to retain his place despite a hip injury, while Dave Kitson remains out.
Player to watch: Glen Little
Although he was only with Bolton for a short period of time, Glen Little will be looking to impress against a former club.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Ricky Gardner might be involved for the first time this season and Fortune is still out.
Player to watch: El-Hadji Diouf
He’s been on fire in recent weeks. Let’s hope his good form continues.
Match Facts & Stats
First ever meeting between the two sides in the Premiership.
1-3 Bolton to build on some great recent performances with a clinical away win.
Bolton: West Ham (H)
Reading: Newcastle (A)