The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

AF­TER Rochdale’s home match with Fleet­wood was post­poned last week the club have com­mis­sioned a spe­cial­ist to pre­pare a re­port and en­sure there’s no re­peat.

Dr Stephen Baker will be­gin work next week to as­sess the Spot­land sur­face as well as the drainage sys­tem.

A state­ment read:“The main part of Dr Baker’s brief will be to re­view our long term op­tions and make rec­om­men­da­tions for our sum­mer pitch pro­gram to en­sure the Spot­land pitch is re­turned to the ex­cel­lent con­di­tion that we have wit­nessed in re­cent sea­sons.”

Wed­nes­day were look­ing good for only their fourth away win of the sea­son thanks to Gary Hooper’s tenth-minute strike.

But Read­ing de­fender Jake Cooper headed his side level and new sign­ing Yann Ker­mor­gant came within a whisker of snatch­ing the Roy­als an un­likely win at the death.

How­ever, Car­val­hal in­sisted his side were good value for their point as their atempt to sit back on their lead back­fired.

He said: “Al­though we are in a very strong po­si­tion, other teams are clear can­di­dates for sixth place but we are out­siders.

“Af­ter seven games we were in sev­enth po­si­tion so we have done well to get where we are.

“We made a strong start and we tried to play on the counter at­tack af­ter tak­ing the lead.

“We have clever play­ers and al­though they were sur­rounded like cow­boys and In­di­ans at times, they can get out of it.

“Read­ing had more of the ball but I think we con­trolled the game. They missed a penalty but I think we had more chances to win the game.”

And Car­val­hal was also de­lighted with Hooper, whose loan spell from Nor­wich was con­verted into a per­ma­nent deal this week.

“He was my first choice when I came here. When I ar­rived and was in a po­si­tion to sign play­ers he was the one I wanted,” he added.

Wed­nes­day made a strong start and Barry Ban­nan al­most fired them into a sev­enth-minute lead when his fierce shot struck the in­side of Ali Al-Habsi’s left-hand post.

And for­mer Celtic striker Hooper showed his preda­tory in­stincts by fir­ing the Owls ahead four min­utes later.

Fer­nando Forestieri worked the ball in from the right and when the ball dropped to Hooper he slickly con­trolled it with his right foot and drilled it home with his left for his fifth goal in three games and his sev­enth since ar­riv­ing on loan in Oc­to­ber.

Read­ing of­fered lit­tle threat but on 22 min­utes were of­fered a route back into the game when ref­eree Stephen Martin pointed to the penalty spot when Glenn Loovens clum­sily clipped Matej Vy­dra as the Czech striker nicked the ball off him.

Vy­dra spot­ted the ball up but drove his penalty against the post.

Forestieri’s shot was de­flected over at the start of the se­cond half, but Read­ing dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion, with­out look­ing like break­ing down a well-or­gan­ised Wed­nes­day de­fence.

But they switched off on 73 min­utes when Cooper rose high­est to head his first goal of the sea­son and the Roy­als’ first goal from a cor­ner this cam­paign.

Ker­mor­gant might have made a dream sub­sti­tute de­but fol­low­ing his £500,000 move from Bournemouth when he flung him­self at a cross in the last minute but headed wide from six yards.

Roy­als boss Brian McDer­mott said: “That was a good point against the divi­sion’s in-form team.

“They started well and scored a good goal but we de­served a point and per­haps should have won it.

“What we have to do is stop teams get­ting off to a fast start and giv­ing our­selves a lot to do.

“I wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent which is why I gave Ge­orge Evans his de­but. He looked a lit­tle ner­vous in the first 20 min­utes but once he got on the ball a bit he showed he has tal­ent.”

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