'Pogrebnyak will help Reading FC compete in Premier League'By Jonny Fordham
June 29, 2012
Noel Hunt is relishing the arrival of Pavel Pogrebnyak and believes the Russia powerhouse will give Reading’s strikeforce a huge boost.
“If the deal is done and dusted then brilliant,” said 28-year-old Hunt, who has spent endless hours in the gym this summer preparing for Royals’ return to the Premier League.
Pogrebnyak is due to join on a free transfer from VfB Stuttgart subject to being granted a work permit.
He will be manager Brian McDermott’s second signing of the summer following the capture of right winger Garath McCleary, whose Nottingham Forest contract expired at the end of last season.
Hunt added: “It will be great to see Pavel come in and I’m looking forward to having another striker to have a competition with after training.
“I’m sure there will be two or three new boys come in and that’s good for the squad.
“Pavel did really well last year for Fulham. In football you always have to set out to be the best and the only way you can be the best is to sign the best and play with the best.
“Garath McCleary is a great signing too. He’s fast and has good energy and that’s what we’re all about. I’m sure he will fit right in.
“As a striker you know he will get us service.”
Reading’s first-team players are due to return for pre-season training next week.
But Hunt, Michail Antonio, Jem Karacan and keeper Adam Federici have come back early.
After joining in with Royals’ development squad at Hogwood Park yesterday, Hunt insists he has beefed up and is ready to go ahead of the club’s return to the top flight.
He said: “My plan was to try to bulk up and cut down on my body fat for this season.
“I’ve managed to do that, so happy days.
“Bulking up should make me faster too.
“I’ve been working hard on my legs, hamstrings and quads.
“The more power I get there the faster it will make me,” added Hunt who scored eight times in Royals’ Championship-winning campaign last season.