I could axe the lot of youBy Nick Ive
April 16, 2008
Steve Coppell has warned his under-fire Reading stars he would be within his rights to axe all 10 outfield players following Saturday’s woeful display.
Royals became the first side to lose at home to Fulham in the Premier League since September 2006 when they crashed to a shock 2-0 defeat at Madejski Stadium.
And Coppell insists the only player to emerge with his reputation intact was goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, who ensured his side weren’t on the end of a hiding.
Royals’ boss is now planning to wield the axe for the trip to high-flying Arsenal on Saturday (live on Sky, 12.45pm kick-off).
“After that performance I think only Marcus came out with any credit,” Coppell told the Post. “I could legitimately make 10 changes for the game with Arsenal.
“If I did then I don’t think anyone could come to me and say ‘why have you left me out?’
“I can do whatever I like after Saturday. There will be a few changes – definitely. I am not 100 per cent certain how many yet, but I have an idea of the shape and the team I will play against Arsenal.”
Reading have not scored in their last three matches – and failed to create a single effort on target against the Cottagers on Saturday.
Kevin Doyle has gone 18 Premier League matches without a goal, while Dave Kitson’s form has slumped in the last couple of months.
Leroy Lita is currently on loan at Championship side Charlton where he has netted three goals in seven starts.
Coppell has not ruled out bringing the 23-year-old striker back to Madejski Stadium.
But he added: “I won’t do it for this week. I am mindful, though, that if things don’t change I can call him back. I am aware of the situation and how he is doing.
“I speak with Alan Pardew (Charlton’s boss) after every game and he’s doing all right. He won’t come back for this Saturday, but there are another three games and we’ll see. All I am looking at now is this Saturday against Arsenal.”
Coppell added: “We have scored goals, but we certainly haven’t been massively compelling in front of goal.
“Defensively we have also been fragile, but we have a four-game season to get things right.”
Reading face one of their toughest matches of the season on Saturday at the Emirates where the Gunners are unbeaten all season.
However, Coppell insisted: “I’m not bothered about what they are doing. I’m only concerned about us. We will make sure we’re prepared as well as we can be and up for the challenge.
“I know they are unbeaten at home, but I firmly believe that we are capable of going there and getting a victory.”