Reading FC's Blackman: 'No-one showed faith in me like Brian'

Published: 7 Feb 2013 12:300 comments

HE has been a Royals player for barely a week, but Nick Blackman feels he belongs to a unique club.

Impressed: Nick Blackman has thanked Brian McDermott for the faith he has shown in him.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

Impressed: Nick Blackman has thanked Brian McDermott for the faith he has shown in him.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

At just 23 years old, the unsettled Blackman joined the eighth professional club of his fledgling career when he signed from Sheffield United for around £1.5 million last Wednesday.

Despite spending only a short time in Berkshire, the versatile forward is confident Reading offers something no other previous club had.

And in the billion pound business of the Premier League, the thing that has impressed him most actually comes free.

Blackman has played under a multitude of managers during his nomadic career - but in Brian McDermott he may have found his chief mentor.

Confirmation arrived on Saturday when Reading were locked at

1-1 with Sunderland at Madejski Stadium and McDermott turned to Blackman in a bid to find a winner, and the rangy young striker duly delivered.

Okay, so Blackman did not score the winning goal, but he tempted defender Titus Bramble into a rash tackle deep inside Sunderland territory

Referee Lee Mason awarded a free-kick, Ian Harte whipped in a deadly cross and Jimmy Kebe headed home at the back post to seal a 2-1 victory that extended Reading's unbeaten run to six matches.

It was a moment to savour for Manchester-born Blackman, who said: "It was brilliant to make my debut and be a part of Saturday's win.

"The gaffer told me to go out there and score the winning goal. He showed great faith in me which I haven't really experienced at my previous clubs.

"He obviously believes in me and it's nice to have that. It's not always the way in football but I've been massively impressed with Brian and all his staff.

"You get the feeling the manager here gives opportunities to young players which is great news for people like me and Hope Akpan."

Blackman has, indeed, done the rounds. While growing up he belonged to several academies including Manchester United's before signing for Macclesfield Town as a 17-year-old.

A big move to Blackburn Rovers followed in 2009 and he was sent on loan to Blackpool, Oldham, Motherwell and Aberdeen before joining Sheffield United in 2012.

A productive spell of 11 goals in 28 league games for Blades soon followed and it was his fine individual display during their 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Reading two weeks ago which prompted McDermott to act, pipping Crystal Palace to his signature.

Blackman, who penned a three-and-a-half year deal last week, admitted; "When I played here for Sheffield United there was nothing in the pipeline about a move, not to Reading anyway.

"I heard a couple of other teams were interested and their managers were watching me. So it was a major surprise when I found out Reading wanted me, but as soon as I heard there was only one place I wanted to come.

"I was here at the Madejski a week earlier before playing for Sheffield United in the FA Cup.

"It wasn't the right scoreline for me on the day, but obviously it is now that I'm a Reading player.

"It's a wonderful stadium to perform in and I can't wait for the next game to come around."

Blackman is certain to keep his place in the squad for Saturday's visit to Stoke City. Sadly, he is cup tied for Royals' trip to Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on February 18.

"It's a shame because I'm from Manchester and I supported United when I was growing up," he revealed. "But I will still travel up to spur our boys on."

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