Pavel Pogrebnyak relishes physical battle with Stoke CityBy Jonny Fordham
August 18, 2012
Big-name signing Pavel Pogrebnyak insists that he doesn’t feel any pressure to keep Reading in the Premier League.
The 28-year-old striker was seen as somewhat of a coup when he signed a four-year deal at Madejski Stadium after arriving on a free transfer from VfB Stuttgart this summer.
But the Russia international, who scored five goals with his first five shots on target while on loan at Fulham last season, has shrugged off expectations the fans have of him ahead of Royals’ top-flight opener at home to Stoke City today (3pm kick-off).
“I don’t feel pressure,” said the powerful targetman.
“We have lots of good players here. It was brilliant to score five goals in three games (at Fulham), but I must be more consistent.
“I don’t think about targets. I just want to help the team on the pitch.
“I’m very happy to be here and I hope that we have a great season.
“I was happy to score against Crystal Palace (in a 2-0 friendly win) last week and I’m looking forward to playing in front of a full stadium.”
Pogrebnyak’s presence up front could be the perfect foil for the Potters’ physical game.
Tony Pulis’s side need no introduction to the 6ft 1ins striker, as Pogrebnyak scored his first goal in the English game against Stoke in February.
He recalled: “They were a very strong and physical side. I prefer playing in England, though. It has always been my dream to play in this country.”
Pogrebnyak rejected the chance to join Fulham on a one-year contract with an option of another two years – and it was owner and Russian compatriot Anton Zingarevich who played a crucial part in him joining Royals.
Millionaire Zingarevich met Pogrebnyak in Moscow several times as well as speaking with him during Russia’s Euro 2012 campaign.
And Pogrebnyak added: “I knew all about Reading and that Brian McDermott was the best manager in the Championship.
“He told me all about his tactics and how he would use me on the pitch.”