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Gaffer: Royals want to build on initial response

9 January 2015

Clarke targeting prolonged run of form

Steve Clarke is eager for Reading to develop their initial resurgence under him into a more prolonged run of form. 

The Royals are unbeaten in three of the Scot’s four games in charge, and have won their last two, meaning that they will head in tomorrow’s clash with Middlesbrough full of confidence.  

He said: “My focus is that this doesn’t just become an initial reaction. I want this to become the norm. I want the players to be happy because usually if they’re happy in their work then they give their best.

“It’s been a hectic period but the most important thing was to get the team stabilized and in the last few games we have shown signs that we’re starting to do that.

“You can see on the pitch that the players like what they’re getting on the training pitch and they’re trying to put that into a match situation. Now that we are starting to stabilize, we have to look to build, improve our performances and win matches.

“The progression in terms of results has been good. Our performances, by in large, over the four games have been quite stable. We can get better. It won’t happen immediately but over a period of time with the way that we work, and the way the players are taking things on board, it will improve us as a team.”

Middlesbrough will arrive in Berkshire I the play-off places and the gaffer is expecting the Teesiders to provide a tough test. 

“They’re a good team,” he said. “That’s why they’re in the top six and that’s why they’ve been there for most of the season. Reading went up to Middlesbrough earlier in the season and beat them, so we have got nothing to be afraid of.

“We want to show that we can beat these teams at the top of the league because that’s where we believe we should be. We’ve started the season slowly and now we have to make our way towards the top of the table.

“Grant Leadbitter is a good player for them and I have liked him for a long time. He’s got good experience and likes to control the midfield but we’ll have a couple of boys in there on Saturday, and their job will be to be better than Grant Leadbitter.

“Just to focus on one player would be wrong, though. They’re a good team; solid at the back, have a good defensive formation and no matter who they pick they seem to have goals in the team. We have to be able to defend well.”

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