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Gunter relishing player returns

13 November 2014

Full-back keen to relaunch McCleary relationship

Chris Gunter is relishing the opportunity to re-establish his relationship with Garath McCleary down the Reading right-hand side after the international break.

Having recovered from his back injury, McCleary played 45 minutes of the Royals’ 2-2 friendly draw with Oxford on Tuesday and is due to feature in another behind-closed-doors encounter on Saturday.

Gunter, who is currently away with the Wales squad, has played the last two games at left-back but admitted that he cannot wait to see the winger make his first-team comeback.

The versatile full-back said: “We’ve played together for a few years now and, if and when we get the opportunity to do so, we’ll try and build upon what we did last season.

“All over the pitch, we will benefit from players coming back and the more game time they get the better they’ll be. We just need to get them back and get minutes into their legs.

“It will be a boost for us. In recent weeks we’ve had people like Anton around the training ground and back within the group. Danny Williams as well, and Kels [Stephen Kelly]. Jem is probably close to coming back too.

“We don’t need anyone to tell us how good those players are, especially at this level. The sooner we can get them back and firing, the better it will be for us as a team.”

Despite his fondness of playing on the right, Gunter has no problems with occupying the opposite flank.

“It’s fine,” he said. “Wherever you’re asked to play, you do your best. I’ve played there quite a lot in my career. My first few appearances for Tottenham came as left-back, and so did my first 10 caps for Wales. It’s something I’ve done before and you just adapt the best you can.”

The Welsh face a tough-looking trip to Belgium on Sunday. Chris Coleman’s men currently top Euro qualifying Group B, having picked up seven points from their opening three group games.

And Gunter is well aware of how difficult a test it will be against last summer’s World Cup quarter finalists, who are favourites to top the group.

“It’s a really big game,” he said. “We’re on seven points and will go their full of confidence. We had a great camp last month and there is a real belief that we can qualify for the Euros.

“We’ve got a long way to go until we put ourselves in a real position to qualify but, in terms of the exciting and enthusiasm around the team at the moment, it’s massive. I’ve got to dust myself from the disappointment of Saturday against Charlton and start thinking about Wales.”

Upon his return, he is eager for the Royals to discover some consistency.

Gunter explained: “We’ve done well in spells and in other spells we haven’t. We had one little run a month or so ago and, other than that, we’ve been really good one week and then not very good the next week.

“We haven’t built any kind of momentum yet. It’s been frustrating but in spells we have done well, which we can be positive about. We must also recognise that we need to play well and then follow it up, though, because that’s what good teams do.”

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