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Rodgers was a big Owls fan

Published: 3 Dec 2009 10:000 comments

BRENDAN Rodgers will put his love of Sheffield Wednesday to one side when Reading visit Hillsborough this Saturday (3pm ko).

Royals' boss Rodgers became a massive Owls fan while growing up in Northern Ireland through a close family connection.

His cousin is current Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington who was a hugely popular figure at Hillsborough during a 10-year stint at the club.

Worthington played 338 games for the Owls mostly at full-back between 1984-1994 and no-one followed his career more closely than Rodgers.

Now all these years later Rodgers will step out at Wednesday's famous 40,000-capacity stadium and attempt to secure a desperately needed victory for Reading - at Wednesday's expense.

He explained: "I used to follow them a lot because my cousin Nigel Worthington spent 10 great years at Sheffield Wednesday and he's a big hero there.

"I always used to follow him there and I know what a big club it is with a wonderful history and some terrific players.

"They've also got a very good manager in Brian Laws and we go there on the back of a disappointing result for them, though West Brom are a team in form.

"But we must put our own disappointment of last Saturday behind us and go again."

Rodgers was referring to Wednesday's 4-0 battering at home by West Brom last Saturday, a result which means Laws' side have not won in six matches.

Royals, meanwhile, showed a marked improvement in November despite the 2-1 defeat at Derby County which left them one place above the relegation zone.

But with only one point separating the two teams this weekend, Rodgers knows how quickly all that can change.

The trip to Hillsborough is the start of a nine-point week which also includes back-to-back home fixtures against Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace next Tuesday (8pm ko) followed by Scunthorpe United the following Saturday (3pm ko).

"Games like Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe are going to be very important for us over the course of December," added Rodgers.

"Palace are bit in front of us but we have a lot of games coming up against teams around us in the table.

"However, we were disappointed after Derby because we were the better side but our management of the game wasn't so good and we need to improve that."

Royals boss will make at least one enforced chance due to Brian Howard's broken jaw and he is likely to play one striker up front again as Shane Long is suspended and Noel Hunt is out for the season.

That role is likely to fall to Simon Church even though the Wales international was hauled off at half time at Derby for tactical reasons.

"We've got players on the sidelines who have been waiting, especially in this little period when we've done quite well," explained Rodgers.

"There will be one definite change because of Brian. Kalifa Cisse has been working really hard and hasn't had an opportunity yet to be honest. We also have Jem Karacan and Brynjar Gunnarsson so midfield is an area I need to look at."

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