Thursday 18 January 2018

O'Neill in Royals visit to spy Pearce

MARTIN O'Neill will spy on defender Alex Pearce tonight as Reading warm up for Saturday's FA Cup clash with Arsenal.

The Ireland boss plans to attend the Reading-Bournemouth clash at the Madejski Stadium, where an injury-hit Reading squad will have one eye on their weekend meeting with the Gunners, Ireland man Simon Cox a doubt but Pearce is expected to start.

O'Neill will also use the game to check on the form of Cherries man Harry Arter, who was an unused sub for last month's Euro 2016 draw with Poland.

There was a good omen for Reading ahead of the Wembley date with Arsenal last night as the Royals beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the U21/reserve league, Ireland prospect Niall Keown scoring the only goal of the game against the club where his father, Martin, made his name.

The stakes are high at the New Den as Millwall face up to Wigan Athletic, both sides knowing that defeat would almost certainly condemn them to relegation.

The clubs are in the bottom two, ahead of the already-relegated Blackpool, but Millwall have a game in hand and David Forde knows that the Lions can only save themselves with a winning streak.

"It's getting tough now as the games are running out," says Forde.

"We know if Rotherham, Fulham or the other sides just above us do the business, there's not a lot we can do, that is even if we win all of our remaining games. We won't give up and we have to stay positive," added Forde.

The Galway native has two years left on his contract with the club but he would be forced to assess his options if Millwall are relegated, with a view to keeping his place in the Ireland squad, while James McClean is already on record as saying he would have to seek a move away from Wigan if they are demoted to the third tier.

"If we go down, of course I'll have to re-evaluate my options. I was fortunate enough to play in the Premier League before and that's where I want to be again as soon as possible. The prospect of playing in League One is not an option really," McClean has said.



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