Halford: A bittersweet debut
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Greg Halford says he enjoyed his Reading debut despite conceding the penalty that allowed Tottenham to claim a 1-0 victory.
The full-back was given his first chance to impress since joining from Colchester in the January transfer window, but was controversially penalised for handball in the 41st minute and Robbie Keane stepped up to tuck away the spot-kick.
Halford admits he was not at his sharpest after two months away from first-team action, but relished the challenge of playing against the likes of Aaron Lennon.
"I was buzzing to know I was going to play and loved every minute of it," he said.
"The quality is a lot better at this level. My last game was against Ipswich in late January so my match fitness isn't really there.
"I was getting tired near the end and then they put Aaron Lennon on the left, which wasn't great for me.
"It was a bittersweet debut, but it seems to be the way it goes for me as when I made my debut for Colchester, we lost 5-0 at Luton.
"The penalty was a bit hard as I felt it was ball-to-hand and not hand-to-ball. The referee shook his head at first and then all of a sudden he has given it, which was a bit strange."
The result at White Hart Lane left Reading four points behind sixth-placed Tottenham, and Halford admits it will difficult to qualify for the Uefa Cup.
"It will be tough to get into Europe now, but we will keep going," he promised:
"We want to pick up as many points as possible and prove that we are up there on ability and not luck."
Halford added: "My short-term ambition is just to play as many games as possible until the end of the season.
"Long-term I would like to win some silverware with Reading and hopefully get in the England squad."