Reading's Roberts relishing Kuipers reunion
click to enlarge
Reading striker Jason Roberts.
JASON Roberts is relishing the chance to lock horns with Michel Kuipers once again.
The pair have remained friends since their paths first crossed at Bristol Rovers 13 years ago.
Now Reading are preparing to send a first team to Brighton & Hove Albion next Tuesday night (7.45pm ko) for a friendly clash that doubles up as Kuipers' testimonial.
The Dutch keeper has spent a decade with the Seagulls, clocking up almost 300 appearances.
Royals striker Roberts recalled: "I was 22-years-old and at Bristol Rovers when Michel came over from the Dutch marines.
"He wasn't your typical goalkeeper. He was some specimen of a man, probably had the best top half I'd ever seen, but needed a bit of work on his legs.
"He had a real instant impact and we all got on really well. He had a great work ethic and I'm really happy he's had such a good career.
"He's been successful so it's great he's got a testimonial game."
For Reading it will also be an opportunity to return to winning ways after ending their pre-season Portugal tour with two draws and a defeat.
But if recent history is anything to go by, Brian McDermott's men could be in for a tough afternoon.
The Seagulls proved tricky opponents when the sides clashed at the Amex Stadium towards the end of last season.
In the end, Royals needed a stunning free-kick from Ian Harte to win 1-0 against Gus Poyet's hosts.
It turned out to be a critical result in Reading's quest for promotion and they went on to clinch the Championship title in style.
Roberts admitted: "For us, it will be interesting going there in a friendly after the battle of a game we had last season when we were slightly fortunate to come away with a result.
"They played some good stuff, missed a penalty but, as in a lot of games, we just had that steely determination and came out winners.
"We know they're a good side, I think they'll have a good season and have got a good philosophy. It'll be a test in front of hopefully a full house for Michel."
Tuesday's friendly is all-ticket for Royals fans and tickets are available on general sale costing £15 adults, £12 Over 65s and £6 Under 16s. To book call 0844 249 1871 or visit the Madejski Stadium ticket office or log on to www.readingfcdirect.co.uk.
Reading are also in action this Saturday with another trip to the south coast to face AFC Bournemouth (3pm ko).
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 02 Aug 12