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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Coppell eyeing USA international Johnson

Reading manager Steve Coppell has confirmed he will soon run the rule over USA international Eddie Johnson.

The 23-year-old was part of the World Cup squad that took part in the finals in Germany earlier in the year and is regarded as one of the stars of the Major League Soccer set-up, with his registration owned by that organisation.

Coppell confirmed the Kansas City Wizards striker was due to hook up with a squad that already contains two US internationals in goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and winger Bobby Convey.

But the former England man was cagily vague on the prospects of a contract offer once the transfer window opens in January.

He said: 'He is coming over on an 'educational visit'. He is coming to see how we do things and the way we prepare. To say he is coming for a trial is way off base.

'If he does well, then we will see if he is in line for more 'education'. It was just an idea and we thought 'why not?'. I wouldn't like to speculate about what might happen in the future.

'We haven't explored how much he would cost. It is their off-season and just a situation where we are thinking 'can he offer us something?'.

'I was in American not so long back and I was going to see him play but there were doubts about his fitness so I didn't make the journey.

'He is someone who has been on a lot of clubs' radars.'

Meanwhile, skipper Graeme Murty is hopeful he will be able to sign a new deal soon, with his current contract due to run out at the end of the season.

He said: 'I'm confident because the club have always taken care of me. This is where I want to be and there is no rush. There has been no confrontation to it and hopefully we can come to an agreement.'

Murty is set to shrug off a shin injury picked up in training in time to keep his place at home to bottom club Charlton on Saturday.

He said: 'I ran into a brick wall called Andre Bikey but these things happen. It's a bit painful but I'll live.'

The Royals will also be without winger Bobby Convey, who is still in America recovering from a knee injury.

Striker Dave Kitson also remains sidelined by the knee injury he picked up on the opening day of the season but, after a number of injections, he has finally been allowed back into training sessions with the first team.