Marcus aiming to save best until lastBy Nick Ive
August 01, 2008
Marcus Hahnemann is desperate to beat Aston Villa tomorrow (3pm kick-off) so that Reading kick off the Coca-Cola Championship on the back of a perfect pre-season campaign.
Royals’ first team have won all seven of their friendlies so far but face their toughest challenge with the visit of Premier League Villa in the club’s only home fixture of the summer.
Royals’ last match at Madejski Stadium was a 1-0 defeat against Spurs in May.
Hahnemann, who has conceded just one goal in this summer’s warm-up games, told the Evening Post: “It will be good to play at home. It seems ages since we last played in front of our fans.
“We were in the Premier League then. I was devastated to be relegated at the time, but we have moved on and I am looking forward to playing in front of the fans.
“You can’t read too much into pre-season matches, but it would certainly be good to finish with another win.
“Villa are a good team, but I want to be tested and I want to know defensively that if we screw-up we can fix it and there is no better time to find that out than in pre-season. We play attacking soccer and it should be a fun game to watch..”
Hahnemann and his team-mates returned on Wednesday from their three-match tour of Sweden.
He said: “It was great for morale. My highlight was going to an Iron Maiden concert and then spending the day on the beach.
“But apart from that it was hard work. It was so hot, but we trained a lot – even on the morning of games and the team is looking good.”
Former Royals midfielder Steve Sidwell will be in the Villa line-up, having joined them from Chelsea for £5million.
And Hahnemann added: “It will be good to see Siddy. He is a great midfielder.
“The reason most people were upset he left was because they wanted him to stay, but not many people would have been able to turn down a move to Chelsea. Players never have any hard feelings. If someone is doubling his money it is hard to say no.”
Royals will be without injured skipper Graeme Murty (calf) and Brynjar Gunnarsson (knee).
There are still plenty of tickets left for tomorrow’s game. Tickets, which are available on the day, cost £10 for adults and £6 for under-16s and over-65s. Ring the ticket office on 0844 249 1871 for more details.
- John Oster is on trial with Premier League new-boys Stoke City after snubbing a move to Derby County. He played in the Potters’ 1-0 friendly win over Worcester on Wednesday night.