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Adkins' praise for players

1 January 2014

Manager pleased with late goal

Royals boss Nigel Adkins was pleased with his players' character to get a late equaliser at home to Nottingham Forest.

Stephen Kelly popped up with his first goal since 2005 in the fifth minute of stoppage time, earning us a welcome point. Forest took the lead through Greg Halford and had some very good chances to double the advantage but Reading staged a comeback in the second half and kept going until the bitter end.

Nigel said, "The players showed good character. They kept going, things haven't been going our way results-wise but they deserve credit and praise for keeping going. We scored in the end, their keeper pulled off some great saves just before then and we were peppering the goal in the closing stages, the supporters saw us have a right good go late on.

"We've been decimated through injuries, we've got ten players out who conceivably could be starting games but it shows that the group are pulling for each other. On top of that we had a couple of players come through fitness tests on the morning of the game.

"The first half wasn't great but we were playing against a good side in Forest. They scored from a set piece and we changed the formation a couple of times in an endeavour to get something from the game, and Kells has popped up with a good goal from a set play. It's a first goal for the club for him, and it could be a little turning point for us, positivity and optimism."

A second half tactical switch paid dividends late on, as the boss explained, "We went to a diamond formation, put Gunter to right back after he'd done well at centre half, then [man of the match] Nick Blackman at left back. Nick has got a lot of ability and has been working hard on the training ground. It's an opportunity for him and he's got to go and grasp it.

"We've taken four points from a team we expect to be up at the top challenging with us for promotion. That's a positive, and importantly we stopped the rot. We played good stuff in previous games but poor goals equalled poor results."

Lastly, the boss was asked for his New Year's resolutions and said with a smile, "They're private! But for everyone, remain positive, remain healthy and keep a smile on your face!"

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