Martin Kuhl wants team to gain valuable experience against PortsmouthMartin Kuhl is expecting a difficult task this evening when the Royals take on Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth were impressive form in the cups last season, knocking Ipswich out in the third round of the FA Cup after taking them to a replay. They were only narrowly defeated at the next stage by south coast rivals and Premier League outfit Bournemouth, so Kuhl recognises his side will have their work cut out against a team with some form in knock-out competition.
“They are more focused on the league than the cups this year,” said Kuhl. “They were knocked out in the League 2 play-offs last season and they had put a lot into the cups. In the last round they made a lot of changes; it’ll be interesting to see what team they put out against us.
“They are a footballing team – I know Paul Cook and their coaching staff, and as I’ve said to the lads – it doesn’t matter what kind of crowd it is, the ones that come to support will be vocal.”
Following the Royals victory over Bristol Rovers in the previous group game, Kuhl says his side are confident and will enjoy the experience of playing against the 2008 FA Cup winners at a difficult away ground.
“We’ll be looking forward to it,” admitted Kuhl. “We played well at Bristol Rovers, and we’ll wait and see who’s available for us and who needs game-time. We’ll put a squad together and work from there.
“We’ve got players that are gathering bits of experience and we’ll go to Fratton Park trying to stamp our philosophy on the game. It’s a chance to learn a bit more about the physical side – they’re competitive, but they’re capable and technically good with the ball.”