Coppell refuses to wield the axeBy Nick Ive
November 25, 2008
Steve Coppell will resist the temptation to make changes for tonight’s visit to Cardiff City despite branding his side’s first-half display against Southampton as the worst since he took
charge at Reading.
Royals were played off the park in the first half on Saturday by a young Saints side that went on to win 2-1.
However, Coppell will refrain from making wholesale changes at Ninian Park tonight (7.45pm kick-off) and, injury permitting, will keep faith with the same starting line-up for a sixth
He told the Evening Post: “I have watched the Saturday’s game a couple of times now and Southampton were just better than us for whatever reason. There are a number of reasons
that I wouldn’t like to put into print.
“In many ways I am still a little bit bemused and I would have to say that first 45 minutes ranks as one of the worst since I have been at the club, but credit to Southampton.”
Despite Coppell’s damning verdict on his side’s display, which culminated in the club’s first home defeat of the season, the Royals boss added: “The Prozone stats reveal there was
more running and effort put in than in either of the games we have won recently, so there is no question about the players giving it everything.
“But when you run around like lunatics then good players will just pass the ball around you.
“I am trying to be objective. If there were four or five players who were weak links it may be time for a change, but there were nine or 10.
“Only Marcus (Hahnemann) and Ivar (Ingimarsson) played well. I have players desperate to play who are on the outside of the first-team squad, but at the moment I’m thinking it might
be best not to have a knee-jerk reaction and make four or five changes.
“In a sense giving them a chance to redeem themselves might be better than bringing in new faces so I probably won’t change too much.”
Ironically Cardiff boss Dave Jones also blasted his side’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Plymouth as one of the worst in his three-year reign.
However, the furious Bluebirds boss is set to make changes. He said: “I was disappointed with the whole performance from start to finish.
“There are no positives to take, none whatsoever. I’ve lost the game and we have not played well.
“We know we can play not just 10 times better, but 100 times better than that.
“A bad day at the office? Yeah, but we cannot allow teams to go 2-0 up due to our stupid errors and mistakes.
“It was as if every fault you could cram into 90 minutes was crammed into this game.”
Cardiff could hand recalls to top scorer Ross McCormack, Riccy Scimeca, Gabor Gyepes, and Miguel Comminges, but the highly-rated Joe Ledley (broken fingers), Tony Capaldi
(groin) and Peter Whittingham (ankle) are all out.
Reading will give fitness tests to Noel Hunt (knee) and Andre Bikey (groin and ankle) today but both should be okay to play.