Nor­wood: We’re fit and rar­ing to go again

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jack Miller

THREE games in a week is cer­tain to blow away the early-sea­son cob­webs, but Read­ing’s mid­field mae­stro Oliver Nor­wood is con­fi­dent his side won’t be feel­ing the burn when Leeds come to town to­day.

Both teams will be ea­ger to for­get their Cham­pi­onship openers; Or­lando Sa’s in­jury-time penalty miss meant the Roy­als went down 2-1 at Birm­ing­ham, while Leeds were held 1-1 at home af­ter Burn­ley’s late equaliser.

And nei­ther fared much bet­ter in mid­week as both were forced into 120 min­utes of Cap­i­tal One Cup ac­tion by low­er­league op­po­si­tion – United even­tu­ally crash­ing out to Don­caster on penal­ties.

But de­spite a tax­ing start to the cam­paign, Nor­wood be­lieves Read­ing will fire on all cylin­ders this af­ter­noon to kick-start their sea­son.

“The lads are fit. I don’t think any­one was wilt­ing in ex­tra-time against Colch­ester. We’re stand­ing up and ready to go again,” he said.

“Pre-sea­son’s been tough, and the goal on Wed­nes­day shows how fit we are – Chris Gunter ran 70 yards and put it in af­ter 120 min­utes.”

Nor­wood pulled the strings at Colch­ester, as he had against Birm­ing­ham, and af­ter a sea­son spent in and out of the Roy­als’ line-up, the 24year-old is keen to make up for lost time as Steve Clarke’s first choice in the mid­dle of the park.

He added: “That’s why I’m in the team. The gaffer wants me to get on the ball, pass well, and make things hap­pen.

“If we’re play­ing that way it’s good news for me. Now we’ve got to start pick­ing up points, start­ing with Leeds.”

Mean­while, Leeds boss Uwe Rosler ad­mits the fran­tic start to the sea­son is al­ready tak­ing its toll, and is pre­pared to ring the changes with Lewis Cook def­i­nitely out af­ter his red card on Thurs­day.

He said: “Some play­ers went to the limit and we’ll see how they re­cover.

“We want to keep our mo­men­tum and play­ers are bang­ing on the door to start.”

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