Kevin Doyle in different hoops on SundayIt seems like only yesterday that amiable Irish striker Kevin Doyle arrived in Berkshire alongside Shane Long, two unknown quantities about to embark upon a career in English football under Steve Coppell at Madejski Stadium.
A 19-goal debut season was only the start for our 2005/6 Player of the Season, the Wexford-born goal-getter was soon making major waves on the international scene and making his mark amongst the elite as the Royals - led by our low maintenance ex-Cork City starlet - took the Premier League by storm the following year.
On Sunday, for the first time, Doyle is expected to face his former employers, having signed for Harry Redknapp's QPR side on loan from Wolves until the end of the season. Reading fans for the first time will be hoping Doyler does not find the back of the net.
“In my first season at Reading, we ran away with the Championship," he recalled earlier this week. "I was there for four years and we finished in the top half of the Premier League the next season, got relegated the year after and lost in the play-offs the following season.
“It was a rollercoaster while I was there! But I have some fantastic memories of my time at Reading. It was a joy to play for them, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to play against them.”
Sunday will be a chance to see a familiar face for many Reading supporters and a couple of our current crop of players who formed part of the successful squad during Doyle's days as a Royal.
Who can forget his equaliser at Leicester on the afternoon Reading sealed promotion to the top tier for the first time in its history, or his goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Derby the following weekend that confirmed Reading as title-winners to Madejski Stadium's sheer delight.
Forever in the memory will stay the penalty against Manchester United that earned us a famous point against Sir Alex's side at Madejski Stadium, his brace in the 6-0 thrashing of West Ham here on New Year's Day 2007, and back-to-back home hat-tricks in the Championship against Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday.
“I’ve not played against Reading since I left five years ago, I’ve not had the opportunity," he continued. “Touch wood I’ll be fit and, if selected, I’ll look forward to playing."