Coppell: Lay off the boosBy Nick Ive
March 18, 2008
Steve Coppell says he has every confidence that John Oster can deliver the goods to beat the boo boys.
The winger has come in for criticism from a certain section of Reading fans and has been substituted in four of his side’s last five matches since returning to action from an ankle injury.
And the decision to replace him with Jimmy Kebe in Royals’ 2-1 defeat at Anfield was greeted with cheers from some of the travelling fans.
Coppell told the Evening Post: “I am aware of it (the response from some supporters). I don’t know if he is. I’m sure he is, but I haven’t spoken to him about it.
“He is usually unflappable, but however the crowd react it won’t affect my decisions.
“He has come off recently, but I have Jimmy Kebe on the bench and he can give us something different if required.
“I have a lot of confidence in John. He is a terrific footballer.”
Although Oster has been far from at his best this season, it was his quick thinking that led to Marek Matejovsky’s stunning opener against Liverpool.
The former Everton player rolled a free-kick across the face of the box to the Czech international, who smashed home a first-time effort in off the underside of the bar.
Royals’ boss added: “Has John had the impact he could have done recently? No possibly not, but it was his awareness on Saturday that created the goal for Marek.
“It wasn’t off the training ground. We have used a similar free-kick on one occasion, but it was all about intuition as he saw the opportunity. It was a wonderful finish, but had it not been for John’s thinking it wouldn’t have happened.
“John does take risks and if it doesn’t work he has a tendency to look bad, but he’s a good player and I have a lot of time for him.
“He has to start producing, he knows that, but everyone has to produce.”
Meanwhile Coppell has defended comments made by Matejovsky last week.
The Czech star was quoted as saying that his Reading team-mates were selfish in front of goal and that Coppell did very little on the training ground.
But Coppell said: “The article came from the Czech Republic and we had someone translate it into English. How they jumped from what it said there to what was written over here was ridiculous.
“I won’t be talking to him about it or doing anything about it.”
* EMERSE FAE will play his first game since recovering from malaria when Reading reserves visit West Ham United tonight (7pm kick-off).
Reading reserves: Federici, De la Cruz, Golbourne, Sonko, Duberry, Fae, Cisse, Convey, Kebe, Karacan, Kitson.
* JOHN HALLS was an unused substitute in Sheffield United’s 2-0 win over Norwich in the Coca-Cola Championship on Saturday. The former Stoke player has joined the Blades on a month’s loan.
Lining up for the opposition was fellow Royals defender Alex Pearce, who is currently on loan with the Canaries, but James Henry has returned early from his spell at Carrow Road.
* SIMON CHURCH has been called into Wales Under-21’s squad for their UEFA Championship qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo on March 26.