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Ex-Royal Simon Cox Returns

Reading fans, your 314 day wait for a new signing is over. Today, Simon Cox agreed to re-join the Royals from Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be in the region of £600,000.

Laurence Griffiths

27-year-old Cox came through the Academy system at Reading, rising through the youth setup from the age of nine. His debut in a Royals shirt came in the League Cup away at Luton Town in September of 2005, and two months later he signed a professional contract with the club. In the three years that followed at Reading, he only made one further appearance, another Cup match, this time the FA Cup fourth round replay against Spurs in January 2008.

As is typical of our youngsters, he found his feet with various loan spells, with Brentford, Northampton Town and Swindon Town his destinations to gain experience. Swindon eventually paid to take Cox away permanently on the last day of January 2008 - in total, he scored 43 goals in 81 appearances for the Robins, including 29 in 45 in the 2008-09 League One season.

His exploits at Swindon saw interest from West Bromwich Albion, who paid around £1.5m to take him to the Hawthorns in August 2009. He scored nine goals in 28 Championship appearances in his first season there, helping them to second place behind Newcastle. He made regular appearances for Albion in the Premier League, although only managed one goal in 37 appearances across two seasons - but it was pretty special...

As his place in the team became less assured, he moved to Nottingham Forest in August 2012 for a fee in the region of £2m. There, he made 73 appearances across two seasons and scored 13 goals - his penchant for a wonder-strike was evident as the goal below won him the official Football League Goal of the Year award.

In addition to his exploits at club level, Cox has also been a regular at international level for the Republic of Ireland. His debut came in 2011 against Northern Ireland, and he scored the final goal in a 5-0 win. Overall, he's got 30 caps, and has hit the back of the net four times.

It's a promising signing for the Royals, and whilst Cox might not have shown the out-and-out striking prowess for 25 goals a season at this level, he certainly knows how to find the back of the net. He's versatile across most of the final third, and I would expect that he'll either be supporting Pavel Pogrebnyak up top, or perhaps playing centrally behind the striker. Either way, let's hope this is the first of many. Welcome back, Simon!