Goals on Simon Church's birthday wish-listBy Jonny Fordham
December 09, 2011
Birthday boy Simon Church is wishing for three points and his name on the scoresheet against West Ham United tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
The Reading striker is hoping he can celebrate his 23rd birthday in style by adding to his three goals this season against Sam Allardyce’s second-placed side. It won’t be an easy task,
however, as the Hammers boast the Championship’s joint-best defence thanks in no small part to the impact of former Royals defensive coach Wally Downes.
“Three points and a couple of goals would be nice,” said Church when asked what his dream present would be.
“I’ve no big plans for after the game. I think my girlfriend is taking me out. It will be a nice quiet one. I’m getting on a bit now,” he joked. “Sometimes I feel like a bit of a youngster, but in football terms I’m not at all. I’ve played a lot of games and have a lot of experience.
“It will be a tough game, though. West Ham have Premier League experience and a lot of great players, who are playing well at the moment.”
Remarkably, Church and the majority of his current Royals team-mates will also be playing in front of their first ever sell-out crowd at Madejski Stadium.
Last season Reading failed to fill their ground for the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final with Cardiff City (21,485) and their biggest attendance was against Leeds United (23,677).
Such was the demand from Leeds fans, that they bought tickets in the home end and it could indeed be the same for a number of West Ham supporters tomorrow.
Church said: “It’s a massive game and it’s great for the players when the crowd get behind us and we have a big atmosphere.
“We haven’t won as many as we should at home, but the fans keep on supporting us.
“We felt like we let them down (in the 1-0 defeat) at Blackpool last Saturday and this will be a chance to make it up to them.”
The Wales striker added: “We’re at home and it’s all about us. We don’t really focus on anyone else and it’s a good chance to show everyone what we can do.
“Our main aim is to win any game we play and this week we have a big chance to beat a team like West Ham.”