Arsenal v Reading preview: Ex-Gunner goalkeeper Stuart Taylor looks forward to frustrating his former club at the Emirates

 

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor is hoping to get the chance to shut-out his old team when Reading continue their relegation fight at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.

Taylor, 32, came through the youth ranks at Highbury, and made enough first-team appearances to claim a championship winners' medal in 2001/2002 and also was on the bench for the FA Cup final win over Southampton at Wembley.

However, after finding Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia ahead of him, Taylor moved on to Aston Villa in 2005, where he would also see opportunities limited behind Scott Carson, Brad Friedel and then Brad Guzan.

Following a loan spell at Cardiff and a move to Manchester City, where his only appearance was in a 2010 FA Cup tie against Scunthorpe, Taylor ended up signing a one-year deal with the Royals.

Injuries to both first-choice Adam Federici and deputy Alex McCarthy meant Taylor has started the last three league games and he would relish the opportunity to face his old side in what will be new manager Nigel Adkins' first match in charge.

"I have never actually played against Arsenal. It would be a great experience to go back there - it is a great club, who I have very fond memories of," Taylor said in an interview with http://www.readingfc.co.uk.

"It was a great place to be a player. The fans were always great there - and to play with some of the players that I did, it was a real honour.

"They had a number of really world-class experienced players there at the time, unbelievable players all of them, and, as he still does, Arsene Wenger started to throw in the youngsters in alongside them.

"Arsene Wenger gave me my chance and I will always be indebted to him for that.

"Arsenal are going through a bit of a change at the moment, but some of the players they have coming through are fantastic.

"A year or two down the line I think you will see these young players and the team as a whole become stronger.

"When a couple of those young players have a bit more experience under their belts, that is when Arsenal will be a real force."

Taylor added: "I never take anything for granted and obviously the manager will come in and decide who will be involved, but as always I am ready if needed."

"Everyone in the group is together as always and we are ready to push on between now and the end of the season.

"We have to go to Arsenal with confidence and if we recreate that performance (at Manchester United) we are in with a chance."

Adkins was announced as Brian McDermott's replacement earlier this week, making a swift return to top-flight football following his own controversial axing by Southampton.

The 48-year-old feels the smallest of details can make the biggest different as the Royals - currently seven points adrift of safety - fight to beat the drop.

"We will work hard, we will be structured and everyone will pull in the same direction," he said.

"It is about what you can do on the pitch, getting the lads organised, it is the smallest of margins which can go a long, long way."

Adkins suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the Emirates Stadium with Southampton in September.

He added: "We have to have the mentality to win the game, although that does not mean we are going to go gung ho because with the players Arsenal have, that will only give you problems.

"We just have to believe in what we are going there to do."

 

PA

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