Premier League the priority, says Reading boss Coppell ahead of facing Tottenham in FA Cup


Last updated at 21:02 03 January 2008

Steve Coppell has

defended his decision to

field an understrength side

in the FA Cup, saying his

priority is to preserve

Reading's Barclays Premier

League status.

More Reading news

The club are five points

above the relegation zone

in 13th place after losing

their last two games,

including Saturday's

incredible 6-4 defeat at

Cup opponents Tottenham.

Scroll down for more

Steve Coppell

Manager Coppell takes his

side back to White Hart

Lane for tomorrow's third

round but will make nine

changes to his team.

Striker Dave Kitson made it

clear this week he is not

interested whether his

team progress in the

competition and yesterday his manager was in


Coppell said: "If

you look at the FA Cup and

who has won it over the

last few years, realistically,

it's three or four teams. If

they decide they want to

win it, they win it.

"As far I'm concerned I've

got 17 FA Cup Finals to play

in the League. I've got to

do what I think is right for

this club.

"I've been

consistent every year and I

will continue to be so. But

we're not going there to

keep the score down,

because we want to win.

"What happened last week

will not have any bearing

on the game because I've

selected a totally different


"I would expect Spurs

to be more or less the same

as they were against us."

Coppell's opposite number

Juande Ramos certainly

sees the benefits of cup

football as a route back

into the UEFA Cup next

season, which could be

vital for Tottenham given

their indifferent league


The Spaniard, who

described the FA Cup as

"a beautiful competition",

added: "The league is a long

competition and it is much

more difficult to get into


"In the cups if you

get a bit of luck with the

draw you get the chance to

win a trophy and qualify

for Europe."

Coppell revealed he is

looking to strengthen in

the January transfer

window and may go

abroad to make additions

in defence and midfield.

Reading desperately need

a right winger due to

injuries to Glen Little and

John Oster.

But Coppell, whose side

face a tricky run of league

games against Aston Villa,

Manchester United and

Chelsea following

tomorrow's visit to

Tottenham, insists he will

not be losing any sleep if

they fail to attract players

to the Madejski Stadium.

He said: "We've got a

couple of things that might

be happening but nothing

is imminent. We've got

three big league games

coming up and that could

play a significant part in

the team's need to bring

players in. Are we

desperate? No."

Coppell laughed off

suggestions that the club

could be forced into selling

some of their star players

after striker Kevin Doyle

was linked with a move to


"We don't need to bring in

funds, haven't you seen the

Sunday Times rich list?" he

said, in reference to

millionaire backer John


When asked about the

Doyle story, Coppell

replied. "I haven't seen

that story. Next to the

martians landing was it?"