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Skipper relishing hectic schedule

26 December 2015

McShane looks ahead to Wolves meeting

While many football supporters will be winding down for the Christmas period and looking forward to a festive feast of action on matchdays, it is a busy time for all concerned at Reading – and captain Paul McShane wouldn’t have it any other way.

The first fixture is away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day – and then successive home games follow against Brentford on December 28th and against Bristol City on January 2nd.  But the skipper has his sights set only on the next match; the next opportunity to register a win for the Royals.

“We’re training on Christmas Day – it’s a hectic period,” said McShane.  “We’ve got two games in three days, which is abuse!  No – we’re footballers and we want to play football all the time and it’s a great challenge for everyone, physically and mentally.  It’s a great opportunity to get back up that league table.

“Wolves are a good club and their fans demand the best from them.  I think there is a pressure that comes from playing Wolves – I think that will be a driving force for the team on Boxing Day. 

“We’ve got to be prepared, as always, and get ready for the game on the training pitch and not over-indulging on Christmas Day.  We can’t get carried away with the festive period – we have to be professional and concentrate on the job.

“The next game is the most important thing – it’s important that you don’t bulk games together in your mind.  It is the next game and the next three points.”

The Royals skipper has also enjoyed linking up with new boss Brian McDermott, who he had met a few times previously in very different circumstances.

He continued: “The manager has come in and he’s really positive and he’s really looking forward to the challenge ahead.  I think the lads are really looking forward to working with him.

“I know the lads on the Irish team are really fond of the gaffer.  I met him at Shane Long’s wedding, and I think Stephen Hunt’s maybe.  I’ve had a couple of pints with him!

“I’ve seen him at weddings and chatted to him briefly – he always comes across as a really decent bloke and I know the lads speak very highly of him.  They’re very happy that he got the job and that he’s back at Reading – he’s got a real passion for the club and that really comes through.”

The Molineux visit also gives Reading a chance to register back-to-back wins, following the home triumph against Blackburn last Sunday.

McShane was pleased to register that overdue win, and revealed that it had done wonders for morale.  The 1-0 victory also saw the return of midfielder Stephen Quinn, who slotted into defence seamlessly to cover for the injured Andrew Taylor and Jordan Obita – and the captain was happy to welcome his countryman back.

“It was a bit of a long time going without a win,” he said.  “It was dragging on a bit and spirits were low – but it’s amazing the difference that three points makes. 

“The win against Blackburn felt good – it’s still early days and it’s still one game in, but we perhaps felt more together.  The manager has been saying about being together and that it’s all about the group – which it is.  That’s really important and it’s good to get that reminder.

“Against Blackburn we played well and we showed good resilience as well to see the result out.  We haven’t had a clean-sheet in a while – we’ve been conceding goals and as a defender it’s not nice conceding goals all the time, so it’s good to get that clean sheet and a weight off the strikers’ shoulders as well.  The one goal did us on Saturday.

“And that was Quinny’s first start at left-back.  I know he’s played left-back before when he’s had to slot in, but he’s game-intelligent – that’s the best way to describe him.  He really knows the game and he’s a great footballer, and I think he’s got a good head on him. 

“He did a great job at left-back – he was going up for headers and stuff so I was surprised!  It is great for him to be back in the fold and it’s a big positive for the team.”

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