Ahead of tomorrow's fierce clash at the Madejski, Keith Ingham spoke to Royals Fan Antony Strange about all things Reading and his time as a fan.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you've been a fan.
I am Antony Strange, I'm 17 years old and I've been supporting Reading since about 2009, and have been a season ticket holder at the madejski stadium since the beginning of the 2015/16 season. I also attend as many away games as possible and the furthest I've travelled for football this season is to Deepdale in Preston.
Who are your favourite Reading players of all time?
My favourite Reading players of all time would be players such as Jem Karacan, Jimmy Kebe, Shane Long and Adam Le-Fondre however in a whole growing up in a house full of Liverpool fans, I've always liked Steven Gerrard and in my earlier football days, I looked up to Fernando Torres.
What has been your favourite era as a fan?
The greatest era for me as a Reading fan would be our 2012 promotion to the premier league, we had a team similar to the one we have now in that it doesn't stand out on paper but was always able to compete and win games although in more recent times, we've had a couple of good FA CUP runs , reaching the semi-final and quarter-final in the last two seasons are times I'll look back on with good memories.
What has been your most memorable game?
There are a few games I'll never forget like the quarter-final of the FA cup against Bradford (winning 3-0), the semi final against Arsenal at Wembley (losing 2-1), and recently our away day at Ashton gate, where we came back from two down on 70 minutes to win the game 3-2.
Who are your biggest rivals?
This is a horrible question for a reading fan because we don't really have one, we have a degree of hatred for Swindon but evidentally they're not too bothered about us as they are more interested in their rivalry with Oxford. Some people say we have a rivalry with the London clubs like Fulham and Brentford but I think that's a bit far fetched and actually our biggest rival is probably QPR as a result of the blue and white hoops argument and the fact we are situated reasonably close to each other.
Who have been your stand out players this season?
The stand out players for us this season are undoubtedly Ali Al-Habsi and Liam Moore. Without Moore in the side we have lost 3-0 to Preston, and 5-0 to Fulham, this shows just how important he is. Ali Al-Habsi is without a doubt the best keeper in the league, ok his distribution can sometimes cause us problems but his shot-stopping is incredible as we saw in our 2-0 win at Hillsborough.
Are you impressed with your current performance this season?
I think both Reading and Leeds have had similar seasons in that nobody expected anything of either side back in August as our teams don't exactly stand out on paper. However for both sides, a brilliant manager is in charge and that's one of the key reasons for the success of Leeds and Reading this season. However if the season started again I don't personally think we (Reading) would be as high as we are.
Who is your Championship team if the season?
My team of the season (4-4-2)
GK Al-Habsi (Reading)
RB Bruno (Brighton)
CB Jansson (Leeds)
CB Moore (Reading)
LB Malone (Fulham)
RM Knockeart (Brighton)
CM Mooy (Huddersfield)
CM Hourihane (Barnsley/Aston Villa)
LM Cairney (Fulham)
ST Wood (Leeds)
ST Gayle (Newcastle)
What is your top 6 prediction?
What's your prediction for the end of the season?
I'd love to say I think Reading will win the play-offs but that would be lying. I think If my top 6 prediction is correct then Leeds will be in the prem next season however If Wednesday make it into the play offs then they could have a good chance of winning it. In my prediction, all the teams in the play-offs have been hanging around the bottom half of the table for the past couple of years so that's a big statement for all of their seasons but currently I think on the pitch and on paper leeds have the strongest side out of the four so Im backing them for promotion via the play-offs this year.
We'd like to thank Antony for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him best of luck for the rest of the season.
By Keith Ingham
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