Coppell faces Royal pain in attracting quality players

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The Independent Football

The Reading manager, Steve Coppell, admits that he could be in for a frustrating summer as he tries to attract new players for the Royals' first top-flight campaign.

The Berkshire side have taken the Championship by storm, rewriting the record books in their march towards the title and promotion to the Premiership. Coppell's men achieved the earliest promotion in the history of English football following a 1-1 draw against Leicester City at the Walkers Stadium on 25 March.

The Royals set a new points total for the division with a 2-1 win over Queen's Park Rangers on the final day of the Championship season, a result which took their tally to 106 points - one more than Sunderland collected when winning the title in 1999.

Such statistics have attracted numerous plaudits for the Royals' football this term, but Coppell fears bringing new players to the Madejski Stadium may prove an arduous task.

"A lot of established players - players who are proven and who you know what you are going to get from them - wouldn't want to come because of our situation," Coppell said. "We are a promoted side and while some may be excited by that challenge, others will think that we'll go straight back down. They wouldn't take the risk, so that drastically limits our parameters."

However, Coppell is more optimistic about keeping his record-breaking squad together. The defender Chris Makin and midfield duo Stephen Hunt and John Oster are set to see their contracts expire in July, but Coppell insists he will hang on to his best players.

The manager added: "I'm under no pressure to sell so I don't expect to lose anyone and I don't expect anyone to want to leave."