Pre-season steps up as Royals visit

Northampton Town v Reading

Pre-Season Friendly

Saturday, July 23rd 2011

So far all pre-season has been about is getting the fitness up to scratch with three games in quick succession against Brackley, Oxford City and Nottingham Forest but now the focus will be well and truly on how we play and putting the vision of Gary Johnson onto the pitch. Reading come to Sixfields having been beaten in last season’s Championship Playoff Final by Swansea City and during a summer in which some key players have either already left or have been strongly linked with moves away.

Matt Mills has already left the Madjeski for Leicester City while star striker Shane Long has been rumoured to be moving to the Premier League with Newcastle and Everton among his suitors. Brian McDermott will be bringing a strong squad to Sixfields tomorrow afternoon nonetheless and, along with Wycombe next Saturday, they will no doubt provide a stern enough test to the new Town squad that’s appearing to take shape nicely.

And who can forget the last meeting between the sides, the Carling Cup Second Round last August that saw an epic contest go to extra time and penalties with the Cobblers winning through to what would become the greatest night in our history at Anfield. There’s not going to be anywhere near as much drama tomorrow but it gives the new boys another chance to impress.

Paul Turnbull and Jake Robinson appear to be the front runners so far in the fans’ opinions of the newbies with Robinson’s wonder goal and energetic performance on Wednesday night coupled with Turnbull’s grafting and passing range catching the eye. There’ still two weeks to go until the big kick off of course and there will still be the odd trialist staking a late claim but the team that lines up tomorrow should be pretty close to the one that starts the Accrington game on August 6th.

It’s getting tantalisingly close now!

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