Fozzy Ready For Starting Line-Up Battle

Last updated : 16 July 2002 By Rob Cooper
Royals forward Nicky Forster, who finished top scorer last season with eighteen goals, realises he will have to battle to keep his place in the team. The former England Under 21 forward has already notched up three pre season goals but faces a battle to keep his place in the team.

Last season super number nine Martin Butler hardly played at all due to injury but he is back now and hoping to reignite his explosive partnership of 2000-01 with Jamie Cureton. That season the pair scored sixty goals between them.

Cureton was dropped to the bench many times last season due to a loss in form, Alan Pardew choose Trinidad & Tobagan Anthony Rougier to partner Forster instead on many occasions.

With youngsters Darius Henderson and Bas Savage also ready to battle for a place in the side Fozzy knows his place in the team isn't secure. He told Teamtalk: "There are more strikers than positions so some people are going to end up unhappy.

"No players have been brought in and I personally think most of the positions are up for grabs however, we are restricted in a couple of positions.

"Right-back is OK now with Ricky Newman back but we are a bit restricted in the left-back area. The goalkeeper position looks to be sorted but apart from that everyone else is going to be fighting for a place.

"In midfield we have more players than places in the team, they same is true of the strikers.

"Last season doesn't count. It's a cliche but all you can do is work hard during pre-season and hope you get your chance."

"It was nice to get a couple of goals (against Oxford City) even if it was just a pre-season friendly, but the main objective of these games is for fitness. I found the game quite hard going. You start off well but after about 10 minutes it got quite tough as match fitness is a different type of thing to normal fitness.

"No players really like pre-season as you just want the season to start but this season with Niall Clark we are concentrating much more on short, explosive work.

"You might sprint, then jog, then walk, then sprint again as opposed to doing a 30-minute run, which is unrealistic.

"The work we are doing is much more similar to what you do during an actual match."