Brian Howard hopes to haunt Liverpool againBy Adam Lee
January 01, 2010
Brian Howard is hoping that history will repeat itself tomorrow and he can once again dump Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
Two years ago, Howard was captain of the Barnsley team that knocked out both Liverpool and Chelsea on their way to the semi-finals.
The midfielder scored the winner that secured the Tykes’ 2-1 win at Anfield in the fifth round, and now he hopes for a repeat performance tomorrow, if caretaker boss Brian McDermott picks him.
Howard has yet to make an appearance for Reading since suffering a broken jaw against Derby in November, but following the diabolical 4-1 defeat at Plymouth on Monday, he is hoping to make his return against the Reds.
“I’m desperate to get on the pitch and everyone knows how desperate I am to play,” said the former Sheffield United man.
“Hopefully I’ll be involved at the weekend and I’ll try to prove that lightning can strike twice.
“If I can get another winning goal against Liverpool it would be Roy of the Rovers stuff.”
As Reading continue to struggle for form in the Championship, Howard is banking on the cup providing a much-needed diversion for players and fans alike.
He is even hoping that a good performance against Rafael Benitez’s men could kick start an upturn in fortunes for Royals.
A decent run of form is long overdue at the club, especially after the performance at Home Park on Monday.
“I think the cup is a good distraction,” he said.
“A good cup run gets spirits going. It gets the crowd back behind us and it lights up the whole town.
“We need to get into that winning habit, whether that be in the league or the cup – we need to get that back and continue on from there.
“It’s amazing when you win one game the confidence that it breeds and you can go on and build on that.
“We were second best all over the park (against Plymouth).
“It’s not acceptable – from the management right through to every single player that travelled and we need to be better than that.
“We need to win our tackles, headers and second balls, pass better and go on from there. We need to get the basics right and stop giving teams one-goal leads.”
Despite the severity of the facial injury he suffered at Pride Park in November, Howard only missed a week of training and has been back in full training for two weeks.
In fact, because of the amount of running and gym work he put in during his recovery, Howard insists he is fitter now than when he suffered the injury.
And following the defeat at Plymouth, where Howard was an unused substitute, he has urged McDermott to give him his chance.
“It’s now down to the management to play me,” said Howard.