Manager previews Brighton visitRoyals boss Steve Clarke wants his team to get back into a winning habit as soon as possible, with Brighton’s visit to Madejski Stadium on Saturday offering the first opportunity.
Winning had become habitual during the course of September and October, as the Royals took maximum returns from six out of seven games. And after two winless games, the Reading boss wants his side to show their steeliness.
“There are always setbacks in football,” he explained. “Nothing ever goes smoothly, you never go on the same path week in week out; it’s a difficult league. If you switch off even for a short spell in the game you can be heavily punished.
“It’s important we get back to good habits and get back to winning ways as quickly as possible. Obviously we have a very difficult game this week as we play Brighton who have had a fantastic season.
“It has been week for me to look through the evolution of this team and this squad. It was a difficult week for us last week and the defeat was hard to take, but we’ve had a clear week to get ready for Brighton.
“We look to see now if we can cope with major setbacks because last week was definitely a setback that was painful, so we have to see if we can cope with it this weekend.”
In the opposition dugout will be Chris Hughton, who knows a thing or two about getting out of the Champiopnship. The Seagulls’ boss guided Newcastle to promotion with 102 points in 2010, and missed out narrowly in the play-offs with Birmingham two years later as well as juggling a Europa League campaign.
“I rate their manager very highly,” continued Clarke. “I’ve got a lot of time for Chris – his teams are always good, well organised and know what they are doing. Brighton are undefeated this season so we’re under no illusions it’s going to be a tough task for us, but we look forward to the challenge.
“Chris knows the league and knows what is required in the league to get good results. His team have had nothing but good results this season, that’s why they’re at the top.
“For us it’s a challenge to try and keep them within touching distance and that’s a challenge we’re going to approach with a positive frame of mind on Saturday.”
If you’re planning on coming to see us take on the league leaders at Madejski Stadium, you can save £3 on tickets by buying before midday on matchday. Click here for information on match tickets.