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Clarke: Charlton is our focus

19 March 2015

Attention switches back to league action

Steve Clarke says his squad’s focus has returned to Championship action and Saturday’s trip to in-form Charlton.

Monday night’s FA Cup Quarter Final replay victory over Bradford saw the Royals set up a semi-final against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium, which will be contested next month.

But the gaffer insists that the weekend’s trip to South London is the first of five important league matches that will take place before we can begin to think about our Wembley date.

“Saturday is an important game because if we can pick up three points and other results go our way then we’ll be almost clear from the bottom three, which is still our first aim,” said Clarke.

“We want to secure our position in the Championship for next season and Saturday can be a big step on that journey. The players understand that the league is important for us and we want to finish as high up the league as we can.

“We have to go from game to game – it’s the old cliché – but we have to take it one game at a time and the next test is a difficult one. It’s one that we look forward to, though, after a very pleasing result on Monday night.

“We played really well against Bradford on Monday and the team played really well against Brighton too. Hopefully we can put on another good performance against Charlton.”

The Addicks have won six of their last eight games under new manager Guy Luzon but the Royals boss is hopeful of recording a positive result.

He said: “We have got five league matches before the cup game against Arsenal, so it’s a chance to put lots of points on the board and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.

“We look forward to every game. Saturday is a difficult away game; all away games in the Championship are. Charlton have done really well recently.

“They have changed their manager and their results have picked up. We prepare as normal, expecting a difficult game, and I’m sure Charlton won’t disappoint us.”

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