IAN Holloway has asked fans to lay off Stephen Bywater after his howler gifted Reading the lead in today’s 3-0 defeat at The Den.

The keeper inexplicably dropped the ball when coming out to gather and his mistake was capitalised on fully by Pavel Pogrebnyak, who fired the Royals into a 39th minute lead.

Bywater was getting some stick from the home fans for the remainder of the game, most of the abuse referencing his past as a previous player for bitter rivals West Ham.

But although unaware of the flak heading the keeper’s way, Lions boss Holloway was keen to point out criticising the player for who he used to represent was uncalled for.

The manager said: “I didn’t hear that I was too busy trying to decide what I was going to do.

“I don’t care whoever anybody has ever played for in my honest opinion.

“I remember having Paul Furlong when I was at QPR and I remember him being called Chelsea scum because he missed a couple of chances.

“He ended up getting one goal every three games for me by the time I finished with him.

“I don’t care whoever Stephen Bywater has ever played for.

“If he went to play for West Ham now I probably wouldn’t like him because I know what it means to everybody but what he has done before I don’t really care.

“I don’t want to upset our fans but I don’t see how it (Bywater’s past) is relevant.

“I see him every day, day in, day out.

“He is more experienced than Denzel Gerrar at the minute and I’ve lost Fordey so what do you want me to do, put the chairman in goal?”

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