Royals goalkeeper Luke Southwood is keen for an opportunity to demonstrate what he has to offer ahead of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup Third Round trip to Luton, with Veljko Paunović likely to rotate his squad at Kenilworth Road.
Southwood, who has progressed through the club’s Academy, registered his senior debut earlier in the season during our 3-1 Carabao Cup win over Colchester United, back in early September.
The 23-year-old keeper described his debut for the club he has represented for over two-thirds of his life as ‘unbelievable’ as he looks ahead to this weekend’s cup action.
He said: “It was brilliant, to make my debut for the club I’ve been at since I was seven years old was unbelievable, and a surreal experience, so I’m hoping to build on that this weekend.
“I can’t wait, I think it’s a good opportunity for everyone, and of course it’s the FA Cup, so everyone’s really excited. These games are the ones we all look forward to, with the chance of extra-time and penalties.”
The shot stopper, who has previously spent time on loan at Bath City, Eastleigh and Hamilton Academical knows the importance of making his chances count, having deputised for Rafael throughout the current campaign.
He said: “As goalkeepers, the chances are few and far between, so when you get chances in cup games like these, you’ve got to take the opportunity and show what you can do – it’s definitely an exciting prospect for me to go and show what I’ve got.
“It’s a good opportunity for people to get some rest, and for others to get minutes, but I’m sure whoever is on the pitch will be giving it 100% and everyone is buzzing and ready to go.
“The team is doing really well at the minute, but we know that injuries, or positive tests can change that, anything can happen. Anyone who gets the chance to come into the team knows that they have to take it.”
Southwood was particularly pleased to see the game set to go ahead, having been concerned to see the hosts' previous game postponed due to the pandemic.
He added: “Everyone was worried last weekend when we saw Luton’s game was called off, but from what we understand now the game is going ahead so everyone is buzzing. We can’t take anything for granted in the world we live in right now, so every game we play is a blessing and we have to be ready for it."
He also revealed that watching the Royals enjoy success in cup competitions as a supporter has left him eager to be part of a cup run of his own, starting against the Hatters.
The former-England U20 international concluded: “I remember going to Wembley to watch Reading against Arsenal, so hopefully we can create some more memories like that.”