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Clarke: It was a proper cup tie

7 March 2015

Boss: 'My players gave 100%'

Royals boss Steve Clarke rightly praised his players for their part in a thunderous FA Cup tie at Valley Parade.

Although it ended 0-0, you couldn't take your eye off what was a battle of game with so much at stake.

Clarke said, "It was a proper old fashioned cup tie, no quarter asked, no quarter given.

"A battle from the first minute, typified by our captain getting a broken nose in the last minute - but nothing was going to stop him from coming back on the pitch. Both teams deserve a lot of credit."

Clarke had a clear gameplan - to match Bradford on their own ground and not rest in their pursuit of possession.

It worked excellently, especially in the first half, with Steve saying, "We knew what to expect.

"We'd watched the videos of the Sunderland game, it was a scrap. Sunderland came here and tried to play a bit of football, we came here and decided we were going to roll up our sleeves, fight for every second ball, scrap and see if we could produce something.

"We hit the post twice, on another day we could have nicked a 1-0 but it's a draw and probably a fair result. It was 2-1 to us in terms of hitting the post and you always get those moments. Now we look forward to them coming to our place."

Bradford upped the ante after half time, and Steve recalled, "They were attacking their kop, they had a bit more after half time, their crowd got behind them but there was never a moment when I was too worried.

"I knew we were in the game from the first minute with the way we were challenging and getting on second balls. I knew we were determined to get them back to our place if that was the best we could do. The players were 100% concentrated.

"Everyone can see the pitch isn't great. But every player gave their all. To be fair to Bradford they had a few moves second half, we had a few first half.

"We're still in the hat, we can both look at the draw. Both teams will fancy their chances. Let's get it on."

Before the replay, which is most likely to take place on Monday 16th March, we will face Brighton and Watford, and go into those games with full focus. "Between now and the replay there's two important games for both sides.

"We want the same resolve and desire on Tuesday night. Hopefully a couple of goals and three points.

"And the fans were good to see today. They got behind the team at the right times, and now my wish it have a full house at the Madejski. If you're reading this, tell everybody, tell your friends. We need you."

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