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Straight-talking skipper on Elland Road test

14 April 2016

Defender previews Saturday’s visit to Leeds

Royals captain Paul McShane is aiming for a win this weekend in Leeds, and in doing so adding to Reading’s prospects of finishing as high in the Sky Bet Championship standings as possible.

Only goal difference separates Reading and Leeds in the table after 41 games; in a heavily congested mid-table pack, there is still plenty of wiggle room and the potential to finish on a higher rung.

“They are a passionate crowd at Leeds and they always create an atmosphere at Elland Road,” said the Royals skipper ahead of the fixture.  “They are a good club and they can definitely be a good side.

“There are no easy games – I keep saying it, but that’s what it’s like in this league.  You have to be at it week in, week out so we have to get prepared for the game. 

“The games have been coming Tuesday-Saturday, Tuesday-Saturday for the last couple of weeks so we have to get our bodies and our minds right, and head into the game looking for a good performance and a good result.

“We want to finish this season off strongly.  There are five games left; the season’s not over, so we want to make the table look a little bit better.”

McShane and teammate Danny Williams had a well-publicised heat of the moment exchange at the Riverside in midweek. The captain admitted that he was regretful that they allowed their emotions to spill over for a split-second – but as far as they are concerned, it is water under the bridge between two players that play with their hearts on their sleeves.

“It was two passionate people coming together,” explained McShane.  “It was two seconds when we had a disagreement, and then it was over and done with, we got back in position and got on with the game.

“We talked after the game and said sorry for what we did and that was it – it’s put to bed and there’s no problem at all.

“Me and Danny get on great – he’s a great lad and he is very passionate, which I love about him.  That was just a lot of passion that was shown on Tuesday night; it was a game that we wanted to win and we felt that we could do that.

“We want to finish the season strongly and it goes to show that we don’t want to see the season peter out.”

Reading took league leaders Middlesbrough right to the wire in midweek – but moments after we had a chance to nick a winner, Boro sub Adam Forshaw forced the ball in at the other end to give the hosts all three points with the last kick of the game.

While the late defeat left the Royals feeling raw, McShane feels that the positive nature of the performance against the league’s top team should only add to their confidence going into this weekend.

“It was disappointing, because we played well against a team that are top of the league,” he continued.  “It’s frustrating that we can play well like that and be the better side against the top teams and we don’t come away with the win.

“We had a great opportunity with Vyds’ chance towards the end – then they went up the other end and it was a ping-pong ball around the box.  The chap had a shot, it sliced off his foot, came off someone’s head, it rebounded off me and dropped perfectly to their player… and then he’s squeezed it into the only place he can put it.  It was gutting – it really was.

“Football is an emotional rollercoaster at times so it was a really disappointing night in the end after we played really well.  There are loads of positives to take from the game but we ended up losing it.  But we can move onto the next with full confidence.”

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