FORMER Reading star Martin Keown believes it will be “tough” for the club to stay in the Premier League this season.
But the ex-England international has backed his last club to bounce back quickly should it fail in its survival bid this season.
The Royals are currently 19th in the league but only one point from safety.
Keown, who made five appearances for the club during the 2004/05 season before retiring, said the 3-0 home defeat to Wigan and last Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Everon have made life more difficult for Brian McDermott’s side. “It’s going to be tough for them to stay up,” he said. “This is a difficult period for them after losing to Wigan like they did.
“Brian is intelligent and he’s learning fast, the players look like they’re getting better and I just hope they don’t run out of time.
“Fingers crossed they can stay in there but if they don’t, I don’t think they will be out for too long.”
Keown, who won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Cup Winners’ Cup as a centre back for Arsenal, said he had been impressed with Reading during his brief spell there.
Speaking at Bishopswood Recreation Ground in Gallowstree Common where he was meeting Rotherfield United players and coaches, he told the Standard: “I think Reading is a fantastic club, there’s no doubt about that.
“It’s a well-run club and the academy there is second to none.
“We bumped into a few of the academy players at Rotherfield United who started off here.
“They work very closely with the local community and with those first steps into the Premier League it’s been a tough season for them.”
Keown was helping to launch this year’s FA Community Awards, which are sponsored by McDonald’s. To vote for a football coach, club or volunteer visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards