LITA READY TO FIGHT HIS WAY BACK IN THE TEAM By Nick Ive
November 17, 2005
Royals’ club record £1million summer signing made a blistering start at Madejski Stadium as he bagged six goals in his first nine appearances despite playing with a knock sustained in the opening day of the season – a 2-1 loss at home to Plymouth Argyle.
He played through the pain barrier, but was ruled out of action for five matches after hobbling off during Reading’s 1-1 draw at Hull City on October 18.
However, despite coming off on Monday in his first full training session in nearly one month, the 20-year-old striker hopes to be back in contention for Saturday’s return match with the Tigers at Madejski Stadium.
Midfield ace Brynjar Gunnarsson, though, is still a doubt due to a slight groin strain. It is hoped he can resume training this week.
Lita told Times Sport: “I stopped playing in training just as a precaution as it was my first session back.
“But I feel fine and I should be okay for Saturday, although I will talk to the gaffer (Steve Coppell) and Jon Fearn (physio).”
Lita has failed to find the net in his last seven appearances for Royals, but the forward is hoping to benefit from his month-long lay-off and make up for lost time.
He added: “I got a kick in the Plymouth game when I got mullered near the end of the match.
“In the games that followed sometimes it felt okay and other times I really felt it as it restricted my movement.
“Having the injury didn’t help me, but I’m not making any excuses because I still had chances to score.
“As a striker you always get games where you don’t score, but you have to be strong. I beat myself up over not scoring, that’s the way I am. Goals mean everything to me so I put pressure on myself.
“I have never been in a situation where I’ve had to miss games and I tried to play through it, which maybe wasn’t the best thing to do, but I just want to play football.
“It’s horrible sat at home on a Saturday watching football on TV rather than being away with the lads, but hopefully that’s all behind me now.
“I am coming back fresh and it’s like starting all over again. Hopefully I can get back among the goals. I know I have to fight my way back in the team now because the boys have been doing so well. People who have come into the team have done well and that’s why Reading have been so successful.”
Meanwhile, Glen Little insists Reading have toughened up and are no longer an easy touch who will be bullied into defeat.
Royals have emerged as serious Championship title contenders following a staggering club record 20-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
During that time the defence has shipped just 10 league goals and Reading have yet to lose a match away from home.
And Little believes Royals are no longer viewed as a side who will roll over when the going gets tough.
The winger said: “Maybe last season teams looked at Reading and thought maybe they were a little powder-puff. We have had to toughen up.
“The weather is about to turn and it will get rainy, wet and windy. The pitches will be difficult, but we have shown we can scrap it out and still pick up points.”