pavel pogrebnyak

Ones to watch

by Kate Smith

Take a closer look at Royals stars.

Latvian international Gorkss had spells with clubs in his homeland and in Sweden before moving to English football with League One Blackpool in January 2007. He was part of the Simon Grayson side that won promotion to the Championship, thanks to a 2-0 play-off final win over Yeovil at Wembley.

Following a successful first full season in England’s second tier, Gorkss signed for Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2008 in a protracted deal. The towering defender went on to make over 100 appearances for the club in a three year spell at Loftus Road, winning the Championship in the 2010-11 season to gain promotion to the Premier League.

That summer, Gorkss made the move to Reading, and won the Championship for the second season running, with the Royals achieving promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2011/12 season. With his goal against old side QPR in November, Gorkss became only the second Latvian (after Marian Pahars) to score a goal in the Premier League.

The Enfield-born Antiguan international began his career at Wimbledon but made his professional debut on loan at Leyton Orient. After spells at Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers, the box-to-box midfielder made a permanent move to the Madejski Stadium after an initial loan spell. He was part of the Reading side that won the Championship in the 2011-12 season. He played 41 out of the 46 league games last season, and grabbed five goals to help Reading to the title.

The 30-year-old midfielder scored only his second Premier League goal in Reading’s 3-3 draw with Fulham in October.

The Russian international striker spent his youth career at hometown club Spartak Moscow, signing for them at the age of six. He made his professional debut for the first team squad in 2002 and, after various loan spells in Russia and a permanent move to Tom Tomsk, Pogrebnyak had a successful spell at Zenit St Petersburg. In his time at Zenit, the striker won the Russian Premier League, the Russian Super Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. His form in Russia earned him a move to VfB Stuttgart in Germany, where he forged a reputation as a solid hold-up striker.

He arrived in English football in January 2012, signing a permanent deal with Fulham. He made an instant impact, becoming the fastest player to reach five goals in Premier League history after a hat-trick in his third game against Wolves.

Shortly after representing Russia at Euro 2012, Pogrebnyak signed for Premier League newcomers Reading, scoring his first goal for the club in a 4-2 defeat at Chelsea.