01 October 2022

Paul Ince hails ‘great pro’ Andy Carroll for his impact in second Reading spell

01 October 2022

Reading manager Paul Ince praised former England striker Andy Carroll for the impact he is making in his second spell at the club after the 3-1 Sky Bet Championship victory over Huddersfield.

Carroll started his first game since re-signing for the Royals last month and played a leading role in the comfortable win.

Reading led 2-0 at the break, through a Tom McIntyre header and a Lee Nicholls own goal, and extended their lead with a Yakou Meite tap-in.

Defender Tom Lees nodded home in the fourth minute of stoppage time but it was a mere consolation for Huddersfield.

Carroll, who played for Reading last season before moving on to West Brom, started for the first time since returning to Berkshire.

“It was Andy’s first proper game back for us and it’s good get him back on the pitch,” said Ince.

“I’ve always looked at playing two up front (with Lucas Joao) because it then occupies the two opposing centre-halves. I just felt that today was the opportunity.

“I said to Andy at half-time, ‘how much more can you give me in the second half?’ and he said, ‘another 45’.

“That typifies what he’s like. He just wants to be on the park, he just wants to play football. He’s just a great pro.”

On the victory, Ince said: “I was pleased with the first 45 minutes but not really the second 45. We were a bit off it.

“You can’t really understand that when you’re 2-0 up. You subconsciously start to defend too deep and you allow them to take control.

“That’s something that we can’t do on Tuesday (at home to Norwich). But for that first 45, I thought that we were excellent.

“At home, we’ve got to get on the front foot. Especially against a team like Huddersfield, who are probably lacking in confidence at the moment.

“Once we got that first goal, we looked a very good side going forward. And defensively, we looked very stable.

“Even when we got the second goal, it’s still not enough at 2-0. I said to the lads at half-time that we just had to keep doing the basics right.

“Keep our concentration and focus, don’t get complacent.

“But it seemed to go completely the other way. We got sloppy with our passing, we were messing about.

“Luckily, we then got the third goal. That was pleasing. But, overall, I’ve got to be happy with the performance.”

Mark Fotheringham, Huddersfield’s new head coach, suffered defeat in his first game in charge.

“It was a tough welcome to the Championship,” Fotheringham said, “and it was a typical Championship game.

“The first goal we conceded was from a set-play and, with the second goal, we could have dealt with that better.

“It was a ricochet off our keeper and it’s just gone in the goal.

“I felt that we actually had the two better chances in the first period but this is all part of working with young players. They can be so naïve at times.

“But they want to do so well and that’s what pleases me the most.

“There were a few positives. We pretty much dominated the second half. I don’t think Reading had any real chances at all – and we did.

“I know that we can get better. We’ve Jonathan Hogg coming back with all his experience and aggression.

“And we’ve got another two or three young lads who are going to come back into the fold as well.

“So all that makes me feel positive when I’m looking to the games ahead.

“Yes, this does give me an idea (of the size of the job). I know this league, I’ve played in it twice.

“I know what it’s like, it’s just relentless. There’s a big volume of games.

“But I believe in this group and I think that we’re going to get better.

“We’re obviously disappointed because of the scoreline today. It looks like it was worse than it actually was.

“But we still have a lot of work to do on the training field.”

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