Carrow Road surface could suit Royals

Reading should relish the chance to play on Carrow Road's excellent surface on Monday night - after manager Steve Coppell criticised their own pitch at the Madejski Stadium.

Reading should relish the chance to play on Carrow Road's excellent surface on Monday night - after manager Steve Coppell criticised their own pitch at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals are already assured of a play-off place despite failing to win in seven home games, but Coppell believes his players have struggled because of the poor state of their home pitch.

The club has had long-standing problems with drainage, while the surface is also used by London Irish for rugby matches.

“Our pitch does not help,” admitted Coppell. “You could see the difference when we played at Derby. It was a glorious pitch. You could run and pass the ball with confidence.


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“I watched the reserves on Wednesday (at Madejski Stadium) and when it was passed there was top spin on it and it bobbled and the players could hardly run with it.

“I know ordinary footballers who are used to playing on crap pitches will think 'What is he talking about?' but we are at our best when we can play, we can run with the ball and shift it about with confidence and at home we have not been able to do that.”

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Coppell has hit out at claims that Reading have turned into a long-ball team.

He told the Reading Evening Post: “When teams come to our place they have to play on it once and they can play a bit more as they don't have confidence issues about running with the ball.

“Having played on it like it is for three months we can't as we are less assured.

“We can't do anything about it. I don't want it to be an issue, but I refute allegations 100 per cent that we just boot it.

“I refute any allegation that there is some sort of signal from high that we tell them to lump it.

“If you look at the stats we play fewer long balls than any other team in this division.

“That is proved by Pro-Zone. We play fewer balls over 25 metres than any other team. That is a fact.”

Reading will be without five injured players on Monday - Noel Hunt (foot), James Harper (groin), Ivar Ingimarsson (knee), ex-City loan striker Leroy Lita (ankle) and Graeme Murty (calf).

But Chris Armstrong will return and Kevin Doyle may be involved after recovering from knee injuries.

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