Harte ready to tackle Stoke

Former Republic of Ireland full-back prepared for top-flight test

Ian Harte: Reading full-back getting into shape for the new season ahead

Reading defender Ian Harte expects Stoke to welcome them back to the Premier League in their own unique style on the opening day of the season.

The Royals will start their campaign at home in front of their fans at the Madejski Stadium, but the imposing Potters side will provide them with a stern examination.

Harte, 34, penned a one-year extension over the summer and is full of anticipation ahead of Reading's return to the top-flight.

He told the club's official website: "It's nice to be at home for the first game, but it's a difficult game against a team like Stoke - a big physical team.

"Hopefully we can keep up that form that got us up last year. I'm looking forward to every single game that just doesn't go for me but for everyone - it's a great challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

Quality

The dynamics of the Premier League have changed since Brian McDermott's side were last there four years ago.

Empowered by the wealth of Sheikh Mansour, Manchester City's eye-catching signings propelled them to the Premier League crown last term.

And Harte acknowledges Reading face a tough nine months ahead due to the quality of opposition they will face.

He added: "We know that we are going to be up against big teams, the likes of Man City, Chelsea and so on - the quality of squads that they have.

"But we're ready for it. I've been doing quite a bit of training myself and I'm looking forward to getting back and seeing all the lads."