Centre-back reveals Royals' confidence
Alex Pearce says the Royals have always kept a belief that they could turn their form around – and that confidence came from manager Brian McDermott.
The Royals had a seven-game losing streak toward the end of 2012, but McDermott and the players kept the faith, and we have only lost one game in the last eight – away to Champions League-chasing Tottenham.
Pearce said, "We could always [envisage the turnaround]. The boys have always kept the belief - the gaffer has always installed that in us. We have proved that we can do it and go on a run, and any team that comes here to Madejski Stadium will find it hard. That's been proven over the last few years.
"Saturday was absolutely fantastic - we kept going til the bitter end. I thought we played well throughout the whole game. In the first half, we dominated but it happens when you give a goal away like that - Pavel was unlucky. But we battled, kept together and we came through at the end thanks to a great Jimmy Kebe header!
"The stereotypical view on Jimmy is that you wouldn't expect him to win any header - but he's proven everyone wrong! But he does that - he's a great guy and he's done ever so well. He's been great defensively too - helping out at the back, clearing one off the line and shielding stuff out for goal-kicks - he's a pleasure to play with.
"The gaffer said before the game that we owe this lot one. We really wanted to make amends for that game up at Sunderland. That wasn't us that night but I think we put things right.
"The Stoke game will be a good one - but not one for the faint hearted I don't think. We'll be going there with high confidence and such high spirits. It's a tough place to go to but with the form we're in now, we can take on anyone. "
Alex is currently away with the Irish national team as they take on Poland in Dublin on Wednesday evening.