Hahnemann Bouyant Going Into Walsall Clash

Last updated : 21 October 2003 By Rob Cooper
Marcus Hahnemann will tonight be hoping to play his part in a third consecutive victory for the Royals.

Reading face their third home game in eight days, the opponents are Walsall. After two wins in the past two optimism has flooded back into the Madejski Stadium.

However, Hahnemann, who once had a trial with the Saddlers, has done little to help Reading's resurgence, putting in surprisingly below-par displays.

The American international miss-kicked a clearance against Gillingham this time last week and then, as if to add to his misery, let a Ricardo Fuller shot slip under his body on Saturday. Fortunately, the Royals managed to battle bravely going forward and steal the points.

Although the usually reliable shotstopper has put in some shoddy performances, he remains confident going into tonight's game.

Commenting on his mistake last Saturday that allowed Preston to take a surprise lead, the bald Yank told the official site: "I didn't see it (Fuller's shot) come through the people but I think I still should have saved it."

In bullish mood, Marcus added: "I don't dwell on that, you say to yourself, OK I made that mistake but what am I going to do now for the team. When I need to be called upon after that I am ready.

"You make a decision and you do it. 99% of the time I get them right and if you have confidence then you make a decision and that's all you can do. After the game of course you analyse what you need to."

In November 2002, Hahnemann went a whole month without conceding a goal, yet this year he hasn't fared so well, not keeping a clean sheet since August 30th.

Whilst Hahnemann will be doing his utmost to keep his first clean sheet in almost two months, the aid he has available to him is somewhat depleated.

Right-back Graeme Murty, who is yet to feature undernew manager Steve Coppell's, will again fail to make an appearance as he is still suffering from a calf injury. Ricky Newman is once more expected to deputise.

The Royals will also be without last weekend's goal-scoring centre-back John Mackie who yesterday had an operation on his injured knee. However, Steve Brown should return to the team having overcome a multitude of injuries.

In midfield Andy Hughes, who limped off at half time against Preston on Saturday, will not feature. The former Notts County man, who has received a lot of criticism from the fans this season, is likely to be replaced in the starting line-up by John Salako.

If anyone cares, West Ham tomorrow night entertain Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. A certain pillock will be taking charge of the Hammers for the first time.