By Steven Woodgate
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Steve Coppell may be that man who can find the needle in a haystack.
His craft eye in scouring the country and overseas is the sole reason why Reading have so many priced gems.
Premier League clubs may be walloping the door down with bag full’s of money to snatch these players away but Coppell remains that his modest and honest attitude have helped players develop and become some of the finest he has ever witnessed.
Some have gone and some have stayed but all in all Coppell must be considered a master in changing lower league strikers into fine, top rate players.
Coppell was the man responsible for Ian Wright’s spectacular career as he joined Crystal Palace after being touted from non-league Greenwich Borough. The Wright and Bright combination did Palace a world of good as they gained promotion almost 20 years ago.
Now Coppell is re-establishing the same torment with recent addition Noel Hunt and partnering him with Kevin Doyle.
Hunt’s brace against Coventry City is a welcomed reminder that Coppell has a thing for strikers and plucking them from lower divisions to produce them into world-beaters.
Even though Hunt originally was signed from Dundee United where he had a one in three strike rate, Coppell knew his potential when he started out for Shamrock Rovers and when he struggled at Dunfermline
He has now have eight goals in the Championship so far and have no signs of slowing down. He is sparking up a lethal partnership with fellow compatriot Doyle, they are the envy of any Manager in the division.
Under Coppell’s guidance, Hunt has begun his international career with the senior squad, coming on as a substitute against Poland back in November. He has followed in Kevin Doyle’s steps and Coppell is hoping that Hunt can contribute similar to what Doyle had done.
Doyle scored 19 goals in his first season of English football as Reading achieved promotion in stunning fashion. Coppell will be wanting similar benefits.
Dave Kitson came for a modest £150,000, even though Coppell did take massive advantage of Cambridge United’s worsening financial state. What a player he turned out to be. The club made a smooth £6 million pound profit in the meantime as he moved on to Stoke City.
Leroy Lita could be added to that list. Costing £1 million from Bristol City seems money well spent, even after his phone exploits.
David Mooney joined from Cork City as well and may the next rising talent. He was the top goal scorer in Ireland in 2007 and is the next one for Coppell to take credit.
Shane Long is another up and coming talent. He is now an established squad member of the Republic of Ireland squad and been having more impact than he had in previous seasons.
Now Reading have some strike force and if one is to leave, Coppell will have another gem to pick from.
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