Goalkeeper previews meeting with the Brewers“I’ve been training and spending some time with the family, and now I’m getting back fresh for Saturday,” said goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, as he reflected on the two-week break between our last fixture against his former club Wigan, and our meeting with Burton Albion this weekend at Madejski Stadium.
“The gaffer understands that my family are away from home so I had some time to see them – this is the last international break for a few months. But now we want to get back to business!”
The Brewers, in their first ever season in English football’s second tier, have upset the applecart for a few clubs. Derby, Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff have all been defeated by Nigel Clough’s side already – Ali knows the Royals will be made to work for whatever they get.
“They have been doing very well,” he continued. “We are going to face a good team – they have come to the Championship with a lot of energy and we have to be ready for that.
“We know we are going to facing a very tough team who are coming fresh into this league. They need to perform and to show people that they haven’t come here just to go straight back. They have got some results. They play in a different way to other teams and they like to attack and we have to be ready for that.
“But don’t forget, we have been doing very well at home. We are getting points here and haven’t lost a lot of games, and we have to continue that.
“On the other side, as a team we have to get back into our games; we have had a break for two weeks but now we have to focus and we have to concentrate of these two games at home against Burton and Bristol City and take it game after game.
“We have been doing very well and enjoying our games. We’re scoring goals and keeping clean sheets – as a team it has been fantastic work.
“We do need to concentrate – before the new year we have a lot of tough games and we have to get every possible point. That’s why we have to work really hard and be really focused and keep doing what we have been doing from the start of the season.”
The stopper has kept shut-outs in each of his three most recent games in the Championship so far – seven in total for the season – and he is pleased for the team fewer goals in the ‘goals against’ column is providing a platform to get the right results.
“I’ve very pleased with that,” he explained of the recent defensive form. “As a team we have to work very hard and as a goalkeeper you have to be focused for 90 minutes to help the team. They have been fantastic and they have been performing and I am very happy to be part of this team.
“For me, it is really important to keep this level of performance because every clean sheet is important for the team to get points. At the other end, we have been scoring goals now – we didn’t see that so much at the start of the season, but we scored five in the last two games which is a credit to us.”