Boss in-depth after vital win
Manager Nigel Adkins had plenty of media requests following the vital win at Doncaster, and he spoke on a number of topics including Alex Pearce's stepover, Adam Le Fondre, Jake Taylor, injuries, Saturday's key match with Burnley and much more.
Read on for our account of the boss' post-match thoughts.
I thought it was an excellent win away from home. The grit was there for all to see and there was a contribution from every one of the players. Well done to them, in the second half we put in a much better performance.
It was a horrible game in the first half, we conceded a poor goal from a throw in and goals change games. We reminded the players at half time that we haven't done well when we go a goal down, and it was about time that we rectified that. What was said at half time? You don't want to know! But the players responded with hunger and passion, they're the ones that have to go out and do it.
Second half Ledge did ever so well sitting in there on his first start in a year, him and Hopey, who has also been out injured. Then Jake came on and did great at an important time. He's been with us since the age of 8, he's not played a lot recently but he trains magnificently every day and we've a lot of confidence in him. He broke forward in the manner we were looking for, and what a super cross. We really, really like him and his attitude is top drawer. Him and Jordan have both been here since the age of 8, Gozie was on the bench, then Tish and Tanner were up there with us as well. We've got a great Academy all the way through and good people.
Late in the game they put big Jamie [McCombe] up top and we knew it would go in the mixer, but we were able to react quickly. Kaspars has been out of the team but he came on, and Michael Hector too. So we were able to manage the game.
And then we had Pearcey's dancing feet with his white boots, doing the slowest stepover you've ever seen!
It was an important win, and speaking to Paul Dickov before the match we both realised the significance of it. We showed grit and hunger, but also quality as well. I was delighted for the fans who came up and got behind the players, we sent them home happy.
It was hard to play on that pitch, and then our ladies team had to go and play on it straight after us as well. It was just one of those games in which you have to be competitive.
Alfie scored a great goal from the penalty spot, he won the penalty which was right and put it away. It's two in two for him so he's on that run now, which is important. He could have scored another one but it bobbled up on him, he's got confidence to score now.
We had the situation again with loads of injuries and changing the team around. We lost Danny Guthrie and Danny Williams last week, Hope and Ledge did great, all being well Hal Robson-Kanu will be available. Hopefully over the course of the week we can get players back available.
We've got so much more to give. Words were said since the Wigan game, and there's been a reaction from everybody which has been positive and the togetherness has been clear.
We've got a really hard-working group of players. This was the 45th match of the season, we had our best start to the season for a number of years, then got decimated with injuries. Players are crossing the white line [with injuries] and giving everything for the cause. We wanted to be in the top two but Leicester and Burnley have run away with it, so credit to them. But our destiny is in our hands.
Now we've taken it to the final day. We've always talked about being in the race. We're at home and we need to follow up the result against Middlesbrough to keep the momentum. I'm sure the supporters will make a lot of noise and get behind everybody. And if we go behind, we've shown we can come back to get a result, which is important right up until the final whistle.
We know Sean, Ian and Tony, and Burnley did very well when we played up at their place. They have deservedly got promotion, and it's going to be a really tough game. What we've got now is a week of preparation and we need the Madejski Stadium bouncing. We're facing a team who's just been promoted, they will come to our place and give us nothing. We've got to be right at it.
The mindset has to be to win. We won our last home game, won on Saturday and showed we can come from behind. It's in our hands and when you get into the play-offs it's anybody's. But we've got to get there first.
We want a full house with positive energy. We'll work hard on the training ground, be right mentally and it's going to be a great day.
|Reading v Burnley|
Saturday 3rd May, kick-off 12.15pm