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NA on Bridge, Pavel & more

31 March 2014

In-depth with Nigel Adkins

Royals boss Nigel Adkins spoke to the press about a number of topics on Saturday, discussing our home form, Wayne Bridge, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Michael Hector, the play-offs and much more besides. Read on for's overview of the manager's thoughts in the media.

Saturday was another point, of course we'd have liked all three. Huddersfield are not a bad side and they pass it well. We gave another poor goal away in the first couple of minutes, and having lost the previous game, going behind early on presented a challenge. But the lads responded well and got a penalty with a good bit of play and then Pav scored it. Both keepers then had to make good saves and it was competitive.

When you're at home the emphasis is on you to break down the opposition, and we've not done that well enough so far. Likewise, if you give cheap goals away you're always chasing the game and that's been the story of our season so far. We've given away poor goals at poor times. What we have to do is have the belief to affect it, and the belief that we'll win our next game at home. When you look at the results at home this season, we've done well against the teams above us.

And I was also asked if I was happy to being playing away this weekend but the answer was no, I'd rather be at home. The crowd are great, I made a note on Saturday of the fans trying to get behind the players and lift them, which was great. And our pitch is lovely, I know what Charlton's pitch is like right now and I'd rather be on ours! But we have to find a way to go and win.

I thought Michael Hector played well and we were pleased with him. He has done really well in training, and he's played in midfield for Aberdeen against Celtic this season. We knew he'd have enthusiasm, physicality and the quality to control it and pass it. I wanted to utilise the squad, to move things around.

In terms of the team we sent out, it was an interesting evening for me on Friday night, normally I sleep well but I was playing soccer chess in my mind, with all the different scenarios. Knowing it was the third game in the week, given the challenge of the the previous game, who's going to last the game, and we knew the threat of Wells over the top, a very good acquisition in the last window. And Clayton runs the show for them, so if we don't eliminate him as much as we can, they get even more possession. It's things you look at, and we wanted to be on the front foot.

I toyed with the idea of having Wayne Bridge on the bench, but he'll have another week's training now for the next game. Danny Williams and Sean Morrison came in, after Tuesday there was the opportunity to freshen it up.

We know all about Alex McCarthy's ability, and he demonstrated it. If anything we've taken away the uncertainty of playing out from the back, and wanted to play in their half early on, and at the other end he made excellent saves. Feds has been outstanding in training as well and is desperate to go, but I can only play one of them. Alex played and made some really good saves.

Up front Pav has done ever so well for us, leads the line well and has a lot of physicality. He gets hold of it and scored another good penalty, he looked a threat. Smithies made a great save from his diving header, he hit the side netting, creates chances for himself and the team.

And we know all about Adam Le Fondre's fantastic goal record - so in the next game he's got every chance of scoring.

It's the Youth Cup on Tuesday night, there's so many good things going on here, we wish the lads well, please get yourself down here for the game. The future is really bright, we've got players in the system who really play good football and that's great to know for the future.

But in terms of the present, we're still in that play-off position. Games are running out, but we're in there and must keep driving everybody on.

I said to the players after the game that this is a great experience for us, because I know from being in this situation many times about the nervousness that can creep into everyone. There's a month left of the season, then another month of the play-offs, and we find out now whether you're prepared to take responsibility, stand up and be a winner, or whether you'll just be an also-ran. It's a great opportunity for everybody at the club to stand up and be a winner.

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