Reading FC expect big things from Pavel PogrebnyakBy Jonny Fordham
July 20, 2012
Pavel Pogrebnyak will be a big player for Reading in more ways than one, insists Brian McDermott.
After watching the Pog train in Portugal yesterday morning, Royals’ boss declared that the physical striker will be a real force in the Premier League.
McDermott has no doubts that the 28-year-old Russia international will be able to stand up to the meanest defenders in the world.
He said: “When you see Pavel in a football kit, he is big.
“Some players don’t look as big when you see them on the football pitch and some players play big and look big – like Pavel.
“Jason Roberts is another example of that. We have a number of cases like that here now.
“Adrian Mariappa is another. He might not look big, but he plays big.”
Six of McDermott’s summer signings have flown out with the rest of the first-team squad for their pre-season training camp in the Algarve.
Right-back Chris Gunter, a £2.3million signing from Nottingham Forest, and centre-back Mariappa, who cost £2m from Watford, will both feature against CDR Quarteirense tomorrow (8pm kick-off).
But Royals fans will have to wait a little longer before seeing Pogrebnyak in action.
He is being eased back into training following his involvement in Euro 2012.
McDermott said: “When you bring in six or seven, which is a lot, the challenge is to get everyone into the group as quickly as possible and manage that.
“If you look around you can see that the players and characters we have brought in fit perfectly. That might look easy, but it’s not. You have to know what makes everyone tick and everyone needs to feel part of it.”
McDermott will use the game against their Portuguese third division opponents to give as many players possible another 45 minutes.
Goalkeeper Adam Federici is in line to play his first pre-season friendly.
Jonathan Henley has gone to Portugal with Royals’ first-team squad.
The teenage goalkeeper, who has come through the Reading Academy, could get his chance to impress in one of Reading’s three games in the Algarve.