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Adkins prepared for hectic Christmas schedule

11 December 2014

Gaffer looks ahead to Birmingham

Royals manager Nigel Adkins believes that his squad are prepared for the rigours of the Christmas period, though their immediate concern is Birmingham on Saturday.

Reading face six games in just 27 days through December and into the New Year, and that begins with a tricky-looking trip to St Andrews at the weekend.

Since appointing Gary Rowett as their new boss, Blues have only lost once to lift themselves out of the Championship relegation zone. That defeat came against Blackpool last time out.

Adkins’ men were held to a goalless draw by Bolton on Saturday, making it two games unbeaten for the Royals, and he says that they will approach the game full of confidence. 

“We got a good clean sheet at the weekend,” the gaffer said. “I would have liked us to have scored, obviously, because we had more than enough opportunities to have scored a goal. It’s a solid clean sheet to build on, following the victory at Norwich in the previous game.

“That should give us a lot of confidence to know that we can go away from home and win against a Birmingham side who are galvanised under a new manager. They have done well and have won a couple of games at home after not winning for a long period.

“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a challenging game but we should go there with confidence, on the back off a good victory in our previous outing and a clean sheet in our last game.

“The lads know all that is happening up until the FA Cup game when we travel up to Huddersfield. It’s great to be in the FA Cup third round and we’ll hopefully get in the draw for the fourth round.

“Everyone loves a good cup run, so the lads know all the days. They’re going to be in all the way through; they’re well aware of that.

“It’s an important period for players, clubs and supporters over Christmas. We’ve got to make sure that we give the people that come and support us something to shout about through the festive period.” 

In recent games, the Royals have looked a much stronger unit at the back and Adkins is keen to make sure that their goal threat does not suffer as a result.

He said: “Our trend away from home had been that we’d conceded too many goals. I like to think we’ve tightened that up now but it’s about finding the balance of making sure you score and are solid.

“We have got a very attack-minded side as well. We go to Birmingham with confidence and looking forward to the game, though we’re very aware that it’s going to be a very challenging fixture for us.

“I’ve spoken to Gary Rowett a couple of times. He did a great job at Burton and that obviously helped him to get him his job at Birmingham.

“You can see the way he’s turned it around. They’ve got good results and play good football.”

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