Reading keeper hopes Norwich City fans go easy on Harte
Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici hopes team-mate Ian Harte will be spared some personal stick tomorrow when the Royals travel to Carrow Road.
The two teams shared a six-goal thriller at the Madejski Stadium in November – including Grant Holt’s controversial sending-off, dished out by referee Michael Oliver, for a challenge on Harte minutes before the interval with City 3-1 up and cruising.
Reading completed their comeback in the second half and Norwich had to settle for a point – as well as the frustration of seeing Holt’s game-changing dismissal rescinded a matter of days later by the FA.
Harte’s initial reaction to Holt’s challenge was met with plenty of disapproval from City fans after the match – and it remains to be seen whether the Republic of Ireland international is handed a hot reception at Carrow Road in tomorrow’s return fixture.
“I’d hope not,” said Federici, below. “It came down to a refereeing decision and Ian is a terrific professional. He has played the game for a long time, so I would assume not – I certainly hope he doesn’t get any stick.
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“We didn’t say much about (the decision being rescinded) at the time. Obviously the red card put us back in that game, but that comes down to the referee and we’ve had our fair share of a few decisions go the opposite way.
“So everyone gets their luck with the refs these days and unfortunately it got rescinded, so obviously it wasn’t a red card and Norwich will have been a bit disappointed with that.
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“Hopefully there will be 11 v 11 on Saturday but Norwich performed really well on the day and we’ve got to be aware of that this weekend.”
Federici made his full league debut in the 2-0 win over Norwich at the Madejski at the end of 2008, but the closest he has come to playing at Carrow Road in the past was his place on the bench in the 2-0 defeat at the end of the 2008-09 season – a result that effectively condemned the Canaries to Championship relegation.
But having faced City’s promotion rivals in recent weeks, the stopper is ready for the next stage of Reading’s tough start to February.
A controversial 97th-minute free-kick from Craig Bellamy pinched two points off the Royals in Wales almost a fortnight ago, before Wayne Routledge took all three for leaders Queens Park Rangers from the Madejski despite being down to 10 men for more than half the game.
He said: “I know it’s a good atmosphere at Carrow Road and their fans are brilliant. They always have a good crowd and obviously they’ve got a lot of support at the minute because they are doing well, so it’s going to be a tough day for us.
“We knew this month was going to be difficult with all the games that we had, and Norwich is not going to be easy.
“We had a very disappointing week. We felt we should have won at Cardiff and at least got something out of the game against QPR.
“But saying that, that is the sort of quality those teams have. They’ve spent money on players and you look at the front four in both teams, they can score goals from anywhere; you give them one opportunity and they score a goal.”
Federici, who scored a 96th minute equaliser against Cardiff two seasons ago, added: “Look how tight it is in this league. Get on a run of four or five wins, which Norwich have done, and you are almost in the automatic promotion spots. “It’s the same with Nottingham Forest. They have done the same thing, put some wins together and all of a sudden they are looking for automatic promotion.
“So hopefully we’ll do the same thing and turn these close results and draws into wins, and put a good run together. You never know where it might end up.”