The Opposition View: Reading

Last updated : 31 March 2011 By Jim Bonner

Ali Costelloe answers the questions I asked him ahead of Saturday's big game at the Madjeski Stadium.

Reading have had a good season but how do you rate their chances of finishing in the top six?

Reading have been playing well in 2011 with the cup run giving the team confidence. Three points off the playoffs with a game in hand, writing before the match. Keep up the form and we'll possibly scrape sixth.

If you fail to win promotion this season, how much of a disappointment would that be and would you expect a serious challenge next season?

Promotion right now wouldn't be the best thing for the club, but again, we'd lose players if we didn't go up. I guess it's better to go up with a strong team but it might be a few years before the chance comes along again. Our only other experience of promotion to the Premier League was with a team that fitted right in. Yeah. Let's go for promotion now!

Dave Kitson and Ibrahima Sonko were key players in Reading's record breaking Championship season yet haven't performed to that level for Pompey. Why were they so great when playing in a Reading shirt?

Kitson and Sonko were playing alongside the likes of Sidwell, Shorey, Glen Little, Bobby Convey, Graeme Murty etc. That team was a team more than a group of individually talented players. Maybe the hunger has gone slightly now they've played in the top flight?

On the other hand, Greg Halford has been a revelation for Pompey since playing at centre back but the Reading fans don't seem to hold him in high esteem, why is this?

Halford only played four games before being sold for a profit, and Reading fans only remember him giving away a penalty at Spurs. I'm sure he's a pretty solid player, just not right for Reading at the time.

Pompey come to the Madejski Stadium in superb form, having won seven of their last nine games and keeping eight clean sheets in the process. Would you take a draw if it were offered to you now?

You can keep the draw, we haven't beaten Pompey since before the dinosaurs died out. I think Reading can win this game.

What are the main strengths of this Reading team?

Strengths are Shane Long, Jobi MacAnuff, Jimmy Kebe and that fellow that's started playing in goal.

And the biggest weaknesses?

Weaknesses are the slow defence that make me shit myself every time they get ran at.

Predict the outcome of the match.

Probably another 0-0 or 1-1 bore draw - these games haven't been the best to watch for a Reading fan in recent years!