Reading V Arsenal at Madejski Stadium - Match Preview

McDermott praises Wenger record

Reading boss Brian McDermott played down the significance of Arsenal's trophy drought as he plotted to extend it in his first meeting with his former club.

Former Gunners midfielder McDermott hailed opposite number Arsene Wenger's "phenomenal achievement" of leading the club into the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, backing the Frenchman's claim it was the equivalent of winning silverware.

The latter is something Arsenal have not done in what has been seven increasingly-agonising years, a run McDermott was determined to lengthen in their Capital One Cup fourth-round clash.

"We'll do our best to progress," he said. "We'll plan, we'll prepare, and then we'll see what the game brings."

Wenger and the Arsenal board have come under fire for the club's lack of tangible success, with their own fans become increasingly restless.

But McDermott said: "The big thing for the top teams is to qualify for the Champions League and Arsene Wenger's done that over the last - what - 14 years.

"In his early years, he won so many trophies.

"I'm sure they want to win trophies - of course they do - but they always qualify for the Champions League, which is a phenomenal achievement in itself."

McDermott, who started his playing career at Arsenal in 1977, has never faced them since leaving the club in 1984.

"It's my first time as a first-team manager playing against them," he said.

"I really had a good time there and the way they do things there and the way they conduct themselves, the word I'd use is class - they've got a real class about them.

"I'm looking forward to it, really looking forward to it.

"I was lucky, really, to be brought up at a fantastic club like that."

The Reading boss denied reports of a bust-up with Danny Guthrie following the midfielder's axing for the side's 3-3 draw with Fulham.

McDermott rubbished suggestions Guthrie had been told to stay away from the club's training ground following his reaction to being dropped ahead of Saturday's clash at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals manager confirmed he and Guthrie had spoken about the 25-year-old's exclusion from the squad but insisted there were no heated words exchanged.

McDermott said: "There's no bust-up. He wasn't selected to play for the game. So, I don't know where the reports are coming from. Danny was training on Sunday."

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry hopes to continue generating headlines in his native Germany by starring for Arsenal.

The 17-year-old winger was given his Gunners debut last month and will make his fourth appearance in the Capital One Cup clash.

Born in Stuttgart to a German mother and Ivorian father, Gnabry has been attracting attention back home since breaking into the first team.

"My mum is in Germany and she called me the other day to tell me that the telephone went crazy after I made my debut," the Germany Under-16 and 17 international told the Arsenal matchday programme.

"The media knew of me when I was in Stuttgart, but since I joined Arsenal their interest increased.

"I hope I can create some chances or score goals and that will give them more to talk about."

Arsenal forward Gervinho is unavailable for the game because of an ankle injury.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny remains out with his ankle problem, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is sidelined with a hip injury.

Boss Arsene Wenger will select a blend of youth and experience as he continues to use the competition to expose his second string to first-team action.

Source: PA

Source: PA