Coppell out to attack at Old Trafford

February 16, 2007

Reading manager Steve Coppell insists he wants nothing but glory from tomorrow's FA Cup clash at Manchester United.

The former United winger has raised eyebrows by continuing to pick fringe players for the fifth-round clash at Old Trafford, with up to eight changes from the side that beat Aston Villa in the Premiership last week expected.

But Coppell argued that the players who overcame Birmingham in the previous round and had earlier disposed of Burnley deserved the chance to be tested in front of the television cameras.

He said: 'It is nothing to do with trying to protect those who played in the last league game, no way. Just because we are playing one of the big sides I am not going to change.

'We will attack the game and if we had no desire to win we wouldn't have won the two previous rounds. One hundred percent I want to win on Saturday.'

Sir Alex Ferguson is also likely to rest key players, especially as the Champions League resumes following the winter break in a few days' time.

Coppell added: 'Is it a good time to play them? No, they are good. Even the ones they bring in will be good. I would have preferred them to be playing someone other than us if the truth were known.

'I did look at the league table the other day just to check and they have played 14 times at home, won 12, drawn one and lost one. They drew to Chelsea and lost to Arsenal.

'I have no idea what team they will put out. I'm not really interested. But I hope he fields his strongest team and I said that before the last round at Birmingham. The chances are it's going to be filled with internationals anyway.'

The same also applies to the Royals, who have a number of overseas imports currently unable to get a start at the Madejski Stadium, including USA World Cup winger Bobby Convey and one-time record signing Seol Ki-Hyeon, who also played in the finals in Germany last summer.

Ecuador defender Ulises de la Cruz, who played against England in the knockout stage, is Reading's third World Cup man and Coppell also has John Oster (Wales), Kevin Doyle (Republic of Ireland), Sam Sodje (Nigeria) and Brynjar Gunnarsson (Iceland) to call upon.

But he warned: 'It doesn't matter how many internationals you have, once you go to Old Trafford you have got to perform. You have got to be right at the top of your game otherwise it could be embarrassing for you.'