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McClaren – Reading ‘a different animal’ under Clarke

12 February 2015

View from the opposition

Derby County manager Steve McClaren is wary of the threat the Royals pose when Steve Clarke’s men make the trip to the iPro Stadium this weekend for their FA Cup Fifth Round clash.

The Rams have already notched two wins against Reading earlier this season, but the Derby boss believes that the visitors will pose an entirely new problem when the teams face off on Saturday.

Since those defeats Clarke has taken over from Nigel Adkins in the hotseat, and ex-England manager McClaren is relishing the fresh challenge the Berkshire team will provide as both sides aim to book a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Speaking to Derby County’s Rams Player, McClaren said: “We want to win the game. It’s the FA Cup and there’s a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.

“We know about Reading as we’ve faced them a few times this season, but they’re a different animal now under Steve Clarke. “They have good players but it is about what we do; we’re at home and it will be a tough game.”

McLaren has indicated that he will make changes to his side for Saturday’s game, and is hampered by injuries to top-scorer Chris Martin, Johnny Russell and John Eustace.

“We want to utilise the squad and give a few players minutes; we have three games a week until the early stages of March so we want to freshen it up and see some players who haven’t been getting games regularly,” he said. “Whoever plays, they will be going out there to win.”

Derby captain Richard Keogh has also stressed the importance of the fixture to his side, and is keen to treat the game and the competition with respect. The Republic of Ireland defender featured in both of the Rams wins against Reading earlier this season, but believes that the visitors will pose an entirely new problem when the teams face off on Saturday.

Also speaking to Rams Player, Keogh said: “We played well against them earlier in the season, both away and in the Capital One Cup before that, but they are a different team now and they have a different way of playing. "I am looking forward to the challenge. Reading have got fantastic players who have got Premier League experience and I am excited about the game ahead. The FA Cup is a competition that we take very seriously, and there is a real opportunity for somebody outside of the top flight to get to the Quarter Finals and even in the Semi-Finals and Final.”

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