Midfielder previews visit to the Macron StadiumAfter the long international weekend, the Royals return to domestic affairs on Saturday with a trip to Bolton Wanderers.
The Trotters prop up the Championship table and their prospects of avoiding the drop are ever-dwindling, with 12 points and substantial goal-difference standing between them and safety. But even so, most teams that have visited the Macron Stadium this season have failed to secure victory – Northern Irish international midfielder Oliver Norwood knows that the Royals will be given a tough afternoon.
“Everybody knows what the Championship is like – it’s the hardest league in the world to predict,” said the midfielder. “We’ve got to be confident going there – they’re not in a great run of form. Not too long ago we were six games unbeaten and doing well. We’ve got to find that way of getting back there and picking up results. With nine games to go, let’s finish this season as strong as we can and look to rebuild again in the summer.
“From the outside you might be expected to win games like these, but as players we never expect to win a game – you have to earn the right to win a game. We’ll be expecting a fight and a battle – Bolton are fighting for their lives to try and stay in the division. We need points ourselves to make sure that we stay in the division – we don’t want to be getting sucked towards that end of the table. We’ll be going there looking to win.
“I haven’t played the last couple of games, which has been a bit hard. But I want to get back in the team as quickly as I can. I’ve been working hard in training and I’ve had two good performances this week with my national team, and hopefully I’ll be back in the team sooner rather than later.”
And with nine games remaining – eight of which come in April – Norwood feels the team should be aiming to get as close to a maximum return as they can.
“We were doing so well at the start of the season but it hasn’t worked out this year as we thought it would do,” he continued. “So looking towards the last nine games, we’ve got to aim for 27 points from those games and finish as strong as we can and look to get a win at Bolton on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s important that we finish the season strongly. It has been disappointing in the last few weeks – we haven’t had the results that we have wanted. So we want to pick up as many points as we can, starting on Saturday where hopefully we can do that at Bolton.”