Reading sit in second place in the Championship. Manager Steve Coppell made it clear where his priorities lay before his team's FA Cup defeat at Cardiff yesterday. His team faced a further 20 cup finals this season, and he intended to spread the load across his squad....hence fielding a weaker team.
As far as I could see Tony Pulis made no such statement before the match at Hartlepool but it was clear from the team he fielded, and from his post match comments where his priorities (rightly) lay....securing survival in the Premiership.
What did we learn from this game? Confirmation that the squad is wafer thin and currently over stretched. We have not been scoring many goals recently,even with our best team on the pitch.Sadly any forward line led by Vincent Pericard was going to be a blunt instrument...so it proved.
Sonko again seems to be partially responsible for us conceding a goal,although to be fair to him had his powerful header gone in instead of striking the home goal post in the second minute,we could have been looking at a totally different story.
Looking on the bright side maybe we've turned the corner in terms of player availability. It was good to see both Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson begin their return from injury.Also good that Abdy Faye,Sorensen,and Higginbotham were not risked and given time to recharge their batteries.
Then of course there's the transfer window......... and 18 cup finals to come!