Pardew Praises Murray

Last updated : 16 July 2003 By Rob Cooper
Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew was pleased with the performance of £650,000 man Scott Murray last night.

The Scotsman turned on the class in his first outing in a Reading shirt, doing much to win the support of the small but die hard Royals travelling faithful. Indeed, Murray scored after just five minutes, driving the ball home from twelve yards.

Despite the eventual 3-2 defeat to Brentford in the first pre-season friendly of the year, Reading boss Alan Pardew was understandably upbeat after the game having learnt a lot tactically and realised, if he had not known it before, that he has uncovered a gem in Scott Murray.

"You could see that Scott Murray is quality. He will be a great addition to the team," said Pards.

In the second half Alan Pardew chose to introduce a number of youngsters to the fold. The likes of Andre Fashanu, Chris Davies, Mario Notto, Louis Soares, Andre Boucard and Simeion Howell all made appearances in the second half. In addition, Gary Middleton and 16-year-old Peter Castle started the game.

Whilst all the young players put in good displays, making a name for themselves, Pardew singled out Boucard and Castle for praise.

Boucard, who spent time on loan at Peterborough last season and is to return there for a spell this year, came on in the second half and impressed with some slick dribbling, impressing Pardew.

"Andre Boucaud came on and showed that he is a massive talent. The other young players have to get there now," he said.

Peter Castle, who became Reading's youngest ever player when he came on at Watford at the end of last season, also impressed. The 16-year-old put in a sturdy performance at the back alongside Adie Williams. Williams is a few months shy of being twice Castle's age.

However, the vastly inferior years barely showed up on the field. "Peter Castle has also played almost 70 minutes at the age of 16 against a good team and done very well," admitted Pardew.

After yesterday's defeat the Royals must get back to the training fields to work hard. With just three-and-a-half weeks to go until the start of the new season the squad have a lot of work to do on their fitness if they are to be fit for the new season.

Despite previously suggesting his side needed to do very little intensive pre-season work, Pards added that his side were behind Brentford in terms of fitness.

"Their fitness was above ours. But we started well, then they hit us with two unbelievable goals."

Reading will seek to attain higher levels of fitness as they train hard next week on a pre-season tour of Sweden.