Norwood: We’re fit and raring to go again
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.”