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Brian: “No such things as underdogs!”

29 January 2016

Royals boss looks forward to cup tie with the Saddlers

“I don’t project into the future – it’s pointless,” said Royals boss Brian McDermott in his pre-match press conference earlier this week – focusing solely on this Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Walsall, but not yet thinking about any of the later stages.  “I’m looking forward to training, preparing the team and doing what we have to do, and then getting the game going.  In its own merits this is going to be a really good game between two teams that want to play football.

“We know that this is going to be a difficult game.  No-one talks to me about underdogs in this game because they have beaten good sides from the Championship this season.  This Walsall team could certainly play in the Championship and they’ll certainly be looking to get promoted this year and getting into our league.

“We have goalscorers in our team and we have strong players.  We have got good characters, and we’ll be looking to break down Walsall on Saturday.”

Part of that preparation has involved watching the Saddlers in action.  George Evans, now a Royal and who McDermott spotted whilst on loan at the Bescot Stadium, is cup-tied for the game – but the manager hopes he might still have an impact!

“I’m sure George will chip in with what he has to say!” continued Brian.  “He is a good football guy and he knows his stuff.  He is a young player but he is astute as far as football is concerned, so we’ll have a chat with George.

“But I’ve seen Walsall play three times this season.  I watched their last game just recently as well – and Chris Davies was going to go up to Fleetwood to watch their game, but it was called off unfortunately.”

Reading battled back from losing positions away at Huddersfield, and then again at home in the replay – a scenario which the gaffer felt turned out well with the benefit of hindsight.

“That was tough, to get through that first game.  We probably should have won the game at Huddersfield, being 2-1 up with a late goal they scored.  But in its own kind of way, it was good for us that we could take them back to Madejski and Vyds got a hat-trick. 

“I was delighted with that and it gave us another game – in hindsight it was good for us to get that replay and those five goals.  Now we have a tough game against Walsall – we know that.  But it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.

“When you consider that it wasn’t going well for 20 minutes against Huddersfield, which everybody could see, there was no murmurings at all.  It wasn’t going well for us for 20 minutes against Sheffield Wednesday – it is something that we have to address, and we have to come out the blocks much quicker, which we’ll be looking to do on Saturday.

“But there weren’t any murmurings.  At the end, our fans were fantastic.  They certainly got us over the line against Huddersfield.  We nearly got a draw against Sheffield Wednesday but they nearly got us right over the line to win the game.”

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