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Brian's AFCB verdict

4 August 2012

Boss' work ahead

Royals boss Brian McDermott was pleased to see his squad get another pre-season workout under their belts as they drew 2-2 with AFC Bournemouth. And he is also looking forward to another two weeks of training ground work before the Barclays Premier League season begins at home to Stoke City.

Brian told Reading FC Player after the game, "Most of the team got 60 minutes, another group got half an hour so it was a good workout. I thought we were going to win 2-1, but we are getting close to the business end of the season so we need to get the details right, stop crosses and deal with the ball in the box. That's something we'll work on. I'm glad it's two weeks, it gives us time to prepare, keep working, we need that and come the first game at Madejski we'll be ready."

One major positive from the game was the return of Jem Karacan, back to play 20 minutes after his broken ankle at the tail end of last season. Brian said, "It was a shock really! I spoke to Luke Anthony, Jem has been dying to get some game time. He got 20 minutes, he's back quicker than we anticipated, he's trained really well and we're delighted to have him back.

"It's good to get Adam Federici back too, we've got fantastic goalkeepers here and to have him back is a real plus. We want the whole group fit and healthy for the first game if we can."

With the start of the season drawing closer, Brian is aware that players will be thinking about the starting XI for the first game and is managing them closely, as always. He said, "I had a conversation with the players in the dressing room. after the game What is really important to me is the group, I've said it many times.

"I've been a player myself, and sometimes if you concern yourself with the team or the 18 for the first game, that can drain your energy. I said to them let me pick the team, it will possibly change again against Chelsea and Sunderland, we'll need 20-odd players. We work as a group together, it's what we do for a living. I'm trying to take that distraction away from them."

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