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Clarke expecting stern test at Brentford

27 August 2015

Manager looks ahead to weekend encounter

Reading manager Steve Clarke is hopeful of a first league victory of the Sky Bet Championship season when the Royals travel to Griffin Park on Saturday, but knows Brentford will offer his side a tough challenge.

The Bees finished fifth in the Championship last season, qualifying for the play-offs – during that time they won more than half of their home fixtures.

“Brentford had a fantastic season last year,” said Clarke.  “They have changed their manager, but I’ve watched them play and they haven’t changed their style from last season too much.

“They are still very open and very expansive, so I think you can expect an open game.  It’s a difficult game to go there, we have to go with a positive frame of mind and try and get a first win on the board.”

After a midweek victory at Portsmouth in the Capital One Cup, the manager believes his side are in good physical nick for the weekend’s meeting with the Bees.  Winger Garath McCleary, who netted the winner at Fratton Park, was the latest player to be welcomed back to the fold.

“The games have come thick and fast in August but everyone looks physically strong,” Clarke continued.  “We looked really impressive physically on Tuesday, so we’re in pretty good shape.  There are one or two bumps and bruises but hopefully everyone will be available.”

After over 2,000 fans made the trip to Hampshire in midweek, the Royals’ ticket allocation for Brentford has been completely sold out for the Griffin Park meeting.  The gaffer was impressed by the level of support his side received from the travelling fans at Portsmouth and had high praise for the Royals faithful ahead of their weekend trip to West London.
He continued: “Our supporters down at Fratton Park were great, and they’ve been great for us wherever we’ve been this season.  At home at the Madejski they’ve been loud and right behind the team.  I think they’re as desperate as we are to see a first league win so hopefully we can give them something to shout about on Saturday night.”

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