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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 23, 2008

Coppell stops short of wielding Royals axe

Steve Coppell has revealed he has been on the brink of dropping half of his first-choice team as he seeks a solution to the desperate form that has left Reading on the brink of Premier League relegation. The Berkshire outfit will kick-off at home to Aston Villa tomorrow lunchtime in the bottom three, having lost a record-equalling seven successive games in the league. Not a single point has been picked up in 2008 and a team that still resembles the 2006 Championship-winning side has not even scored a goal in 450 minutes of play. But Coppell revealed he had stopped short of ripping that team up and starting again on a number of occasions and will resist the urge again tomorrow. He said: 'It would be a knee-jerk reaction if I did that. 'I am very analytical about the games and watch them a number of times, and in the cold light of day you see what actually happened rather than what your emotions were telling you. 'Sometimes after a game, you go into the office and say to yourself, `I'm going to make six changes next week'. 'But then you realise although it might make me and the fringe players feel better, it won't help the team and to fulfil our potential we have got to have a really strong finish to this season. 'That is the only thing I am interested in. I don't deal in personalities, I do what I think is best for the team.' Meanwhile, chairman John Madejski has urged the fans to do everything in their power to help the players end that dismal run. He said: 'Let's get behind the manager and the squad and make Madejski Stadium a cauldron of optimism that will strike fear and trepidation into the visiting teams and drive our players on to victory. 'During my 17 years at Reading, I have seen time and time again that in an hour of need, you fans will rise to the occasion.' Madejski, who is still looking for a buyer for the club, was confident top-flight status could be secured by the end of the season. He said: 'As we enter the final 12 games of the season, we know that a lot of hard work lies ahead if we are to retain Premier League status but I am extremely confident we will achieve that aim. 'There is a lot at stake in the next few months, and we are all determined to do ourselves justice and meet the challenge head on. 'We have worked extremely hard for a very long time to get ourselves into this league, and we are not prepared to let it slip away now.'