I wouldn't say the FA Cup is a welcome break

Last updated : 05 January 2007 By Tony Scholes
Reading boss Steve Coppell will be utilising his squad to the full and said ahead of the game: “There are a lot of players who think they should have been playing more and this is an opportunity to stake their claim. Nobody knows how they will do, and that includes me. It is a step into the unknown.”

Coppell believes it is going to be a big test for whatever team he turns out and added: “When you're on the fringes you can be shielded from things, so this is a test of what you are made of. We've got a reasonable sized squad, but there are question marks over a few of those players. We have to find out about them and see how they do in the heat of battle.

“It is relatively easy to do well in training and for the reserves, and our reserve team is doing very well indeed, but in the intensity of the first team you find out about people.”

The Reading boss made changes in the cup last year, and against teams who were then in a higher division than them so this is nothing new for him. “I have to say that these changes are done with no disrespect to Burnley. I would have done the same for any team at home.

“We want to win the game, that's for sure, but we won't be remembered for what we do in the FA Cup this year, we've been in the FA Cup for 136 years, but only in the Premiership for one. We make no bones about the league being our priority, we have FA Cup Finals in the Premiership every week.”

No matter which players are in the Reading side, Steve Cotterill is expecting a difficult game against them. “I haven't been surprised by Reading this season because the one thing they were last season is a team. Steve Coppell has done an unbelievable job down there. Last week they had a 6-0 victory over West Ham and we are delighted they have got that one out of the way, I just hope they don't have another one around the corner.”

After a difficult run in the league it could be thought of as a break to be in cup action but Steve doesn't see it like that. “I wouldn't say the FA Cup is a welcome break. OK, we have had a tough time lately, but we are not far off and two wins would put us back into the top six. We have to be disappointed with that run and we are.”

Like Coppell with Reading, Steve Cotterill is expected to make changes to his side although they will obviously be limited compared to our hosts given the smaller squad we carry.