Boss looks ahead to Saturday’s visit to Turf MoorThe Royals travel to Burnley this weekend, where we will contest our 12th fixture of the campaign with the season just seven weeks old.
All of the players and staff have been working relentlessly to help Reading’s progression up the table – including a period of more than two weeks without a single day of let-up. And as manager Steve Clarke explained, it was a useful exercise to give the players a day to clear their minds and relax in midweek to make sure they are fresh and prepared for the visit to Turf Moor.
“We gave the players a day off on Wednesday – we have the normal bumps and bruises, and we’ve got players that have been out for a little period of time that are still a doubt for us,” said Clarke of his squad’s fitness. “But it was nice to give them a day off yesterday – we had been together for 15 consecutive days before that with no rest, so it was nice to give everybody a chance to clear their mind and go again.
“There was no day off and no respite in there – everyone was here at the training ground every day working as hard as we can to get points on the board for the club. Sometimes it is nice just to have one day where you can switch off just a little bit. I think most of them managed to switch off yesterday – for me, it’s not so easy!”
The Clarets were relegated from the Premier League last year, but they have halted the decline well by putting in an impressive start to the campaign. They currently sit third in the Championship table under Sean Dyche, three points ahead of Reading.
“Burnley will be strong, solid, well-organised and difficult to beat,” explained the Royals boss. “They have started the season well – sometimes there is a little bounce effect when you get relegated, and you don’t start so well, but Sean and his team have started the season well and we’re looking forward a really difficult game.
“It’ll be a different type of team to Bristol City – Sean Cotterill brought his team up with a very attacking philosophy, and Sean has got a philosophy that you have to be well-organised and hard to beat.
“They will be two totally different games – they’ll cause us different problems. Burnley are the home team so the onus is on them to come and attack us, and we have to defend well and hopefully we can score a few goals.
“Burnley have kept a bulk of their squad together – they’ve been together a long time and when you watch them play you know that they understand each other’s games very well. It will be a tough afternoon for us, but hopefully we can make it a tough afternoon for them as well.”