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Kelly eyes clean sheet repeat

8 December 2014

The importance of building back four solidity

Royals right-back Stephen Kelly was pleased with the defensive display against Bolton on Saturday, if a little frustrated not to have picked up the win over Wanderers.

"We had a few good chances in and around their box and I think we deserved to get a win in the end," he said after the goalless affair at Madejski Stadium. "But we just didn't take our chances. Reflecting on it, it'll be one of those games which we'll think we should have got all three points and, at home, we want to be picking up wins.

"However, I thought we showed some good character and we got a clean sheet which was good. We haven't kept a clean sheet in a while, but defensively we looked sound from start to finish.

"Chung-Yong Lee is a talented player for them, he finds that space that you don't really want to be going into as a defender. He got on the ball a lot for them, especially in the first half, and he caused us some problems.

"But most of the play was all in front of us and in terms of shots on goal, shots on target, chances conceded, we're pretty pleased with how we performed defensively.

"Feds has pulled off one really good save but besides that I don't think he was tested at all. And as a defender, our mindset was on getting a clean sheet, knowing that it gives us something to build on.

"We've played the last couple of games together as a back four and we seem to be covering each other well and defending well as a unit. The lads in front of us, Danny and Olly are working hard as well and after a win last week, a draw this week, we've got to be positive and move on."

Another uninterrupted week of work on the training pitch has begun ahead of next weekend's visit to St Andrew's for a meeting with one of our Republic of Ireland international's former clubs.

"It's an old stomping ground for me next in Birmingham City. I wasn't there that long, but I've got really fond memories up there - it was a really enjoyable part of my career and I love going back there.

"They've picked up since they brought in a new manager and it's a difficult place to go, but we've got to go there with the same frame of mind as we've had in the last couple of games - be solid defensively and then let's go and take the game to them up front.

"It's two games unbeaten now and, in this league, you need to get a run together. The win at Norwich and then the draw on Saturday will hopefully be the start of one.

"Everybody's getting back fit now so a clear week allows the manager to work on a couple of things with us as a team, embed certain ideas that we want to go and put into practice out on the pitch on Saturday.

"The fact we've had a few full weeks to prepare before games has probably been evident in the last couple of performances, we've had a slightly different structure to us. So another solid week ahead gives us the chance to work hard and prepare well for next weekend."


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