Football - Boss hails Hope

Reading boss Brian McDermott is thrilled with the impact of midfielder Hope Akpan, who started for the first time in Saturday's win against Sunderland.

PA Sport

The 21-year-old, who began his career at Everton, moved to the Madejski Stadium after playing against the Royals for npower League One Crawley in the FA Cup third round.

Following substitute appearances against Newcastle and Chelsea, Akpan played the full 90 minutes as two Jimmy Kebe strikes earned a 2-1 win.

"We watch players, we think we know who can fit in to our enviroment and he's a perfect example," McDermott told Reading FC Player.

"You have to give people a chance, it doesn't matter what league they're in. You wouldn't get him for £300,000 now.

"Just because he's come from a so-called lower league side and hasn't cost us £8million, we might get a bit of stick.

"But I love signing players like that. He'll become really popular with our fans, I'm sure.

"It's great for him to have made his debut in a victory. You can see his attributes, he's strong, quick, he glides over the pitch, he can run with it, pass it and can score a goal. What else does a midfield player need?

"He's another team man, you could see late on with his defending up the pitch. He's a great character as well, nothing fazes him. He looks a really good prospect.

"He fits in with us, like all of the lads who have joined this window - Daniel Carrico, Nick Blackman and Stephen Kelly."

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