Manager only focused on Wolves ahead of Christmas periodEven with three games in the space of a week, Royals manager Brian McDermott insists that the only thought in his mind is the next one – a trip to Wolves on Boxing Day.
The Royals return to Madejski Stadium after that for consecutive games against Brentford and Bristol City, but those are afterthoughts at the moment – his sole focus is trying to land maximum rewards from a visit to Molineux, where we could come up against some familiar faces.
“You can’t have one eye on other games – you can only have both eyes on the game that you’re in,” he explained. “Having one eye on the game on the Monday when you have a game on the Saturday is pointless.
“You look at the game in front of you, you prepare for it, you get ready for it, you try and win and put on the best performance you can.
“When you go to Molineux, you know you’re in for a tough game – the crowd will get behind them, and it’s Boxing Day with everything that goes with that.
“Wolves have got guys who can score. They’ve got Benik Afobe, who we had at Reading when we won the league. He’s a great kid and he’s done really well for himself, so I’m really pleased for him.
“They’ve got a legend from Reading in Adam Le Fondre, who scored every time he came off the bench in the Premier League and I know him really well. They’ve also got James Henry who used to be here. They’ve got a side that is really capable.
“I watched their game back against Leeds and they were unfortunate – they could have gone 2-0 up which would have made it difficult for Leeds. So we have to do what we have to do what we have to do; we’ll concentrate on ourselves and respect the opponents as well.”
The match offers Reading a chance to register consecutive victories for the first time since October – and McDermott was pleased with the way the team performed in their last outing at home against Blackburn.
The return of midfielder Stephen Quinn – who deputised in an unfamiliar left-back role without any fuss – just typified the kind of team spirit and selflessness that the manager is seeking from the squad.
“I thought the boys were really good in what they did against Blackburn, and they saw the game out well,” he explained. “They passed the ball well in the second half in particular I thought, so that was a great result in a tough game, when you consider that Blackburn are one of the form teams in the league.
“Stephen Quinn epitomised the attitude of the team. Not wanting to concede and making sure we keep a clean sheet with four minutes to go, and doing what we had to do to make sure we won the game.
“That was a great mentality and there was great spirit in the team, and it was a great spirit in the dressing room afterwards.”