There is no stopping Noel Hunt right now. He opened the scoring on Saturday last against Derby County (pictured), heading home a corner kick taken by his brother Stephen. Reading have now won eight of their nine home games and it came as no surprise when the Derby County manager Paul Jewell paid tribute to Reading after the game.
“They are the yardstick for the division and they will win the league. They are by far the best side we have played for a very long time,” he admitted after their 3-0 defeat.
Wexford man Kevin Doyle scored the other two goals. His second goal was a joy to behold, cutting in from the left and angling a superb shot into the far corner of the net with his left foot. Reading manager Steve Coppell was loud in his praise of the Irish players at the club.
“They all have a magnificent approach to the game. They work hard day in, day out and our link-up with Ireland has paid rich dividends,” he said.
Stephen Hunt was a little worried about his form during the days leading up to the game against Derby County. “I have been trying to hard to regain the form I had during the opening weeks of the season. If you try to hard it is possible that things will not go according to plan”.
On Saturday last he was back to his very best. He tormented and teased the Derby defenders all afternoon. The Hunt brothers are once again the pride of Reading. How on earth other managers did not take notice of Noel’s 18 goals for Dundee United last season is hard to fathom. He was available for a very reasonable transfer fee, even in these trouble financial times, but all they did was sit on their hands and allow a class striker to slip away. Take a bow Steve Coppell!
Having paid a visit back to Waterford to catch up with his family, and also to take in the Waterford Crystal-Tramore FAI Junior Cup game the previous week, Daryl Murphy was brought back into the Sunderland team to play Portsmouth in the Premiership at the Stadium of Light on Saturday last.
Roy Keane has the biggest squad in the Premiership (53 players at the last count) so it is tough going there right now. Daryl was replaced by Diouf on 46 minutes after taking a knock. Sunderland were leading 1-0 at the time but five minutes after Murphy’s departure Portsmouth equalised and the side who are now managed by Tony Adams scored the winner from the penalty spot in the last minute.
The Sunderland supporters booed the team off the pitch as Keane’s men dropped back into the relegation zone. It will be a very interesting January at the Stadium of Light.
Jim’s new boss
Another local player who is having a strange time right now is Tramore born Jim Goodwin. He was signed by Stan Ternent during the close season from Scunthorpe United. He was Ternent’s first signing for Huddersfield Town. ‘The Terriers’ were tipped to be one of the title favourites in Division One but they have never really got going and to date they have won only two home games and two away from home. Add in the draws and you will find them in 16th position on a total of 17 points.
It is ironic that the leaders of the division are indeed Scunthorpe United, the club Jim left. They are one point clear of Leeds United. Scunthorpe have 30 points on the board. Two weeks ago Huddersfield Town sacked Ternent but they are still finding the going tough. Last Saturday they played Port Vale in the FA Cup at home. Things looked good when they led 3-1 after 65 minutes but the visitors staged a remarkable fight back and it was Port Vale who ran out 4-3 victors. Jim played in the game.
Huddersfield Town are now searching for a new manager and the man linked with the position is the former Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd.
They have a huge fan base and another name on their wanted list is Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex Ferguson and current manager of Peterborough United, but by all accounts Boothroyd is the man they want. Whatever happens, Goodwin will have a new manager very shortly.