Harte keen for Madejski Stadium to remain a fortressBy Lewis Rudd
June 20, 2012
Ian Harte is calling on his team mates to keep up the good home form which helped propel Reading back into the Premier League for the first time in four years.
Royals made Madejski Stadium a fortress last season, winning 14 and drawing five of their 23 home fixtures as the club secured a return to the top flight in some style.
And this was from a side who had picked up just one point from their first three outings in front of their home supporters during what turned out to be a successful campaign - recording their first victory with a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers on September 17.
But Harte, who recently penned a new one-year deal with the club, is hoping Royals can take the home form shown for the remainder of the unforgettable 2011/12 season into their assault on the Premier League.
Brian McDermott's men kick-start the new season with a home game against Stoke City on August 18, a side known for having a physical presence and an aerial threat.
Harte, however, is looking forward to the encounter - and the other 37 fixtures on the domestic calendar.
The free-scoring full back has also been able to do his homework on some of the players Reading can expect to line up against next season, as the Irishman has been working as a pundit for Sky Sports during the close season, offering his opinions on his country during the European Championships.
He said: “It’s nice to be at home for the first game, it’s a difficult game against a team like Stoke - a big physical team.
“Hopefully we can keep up the home form that got us up last year. I’m looking forward to every single game, that doesn’t just go for me but for everyone – it’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to it.
“We know that we’re going to be up against big teams, the likes of Man City, Chelsea and so on - and the quality of squads that they have.
"But we’re ready for it.
"I’ve been doing quite a bit of training myself and I’m looking forward to getting back and seeing all the lads.”