Jaap Stam says the Royals need to be aware of Burton Albion's style of play when they arrive at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Even though the Brewers currently sit in the relegation places in the Championship, a win could spare them the moniker of being in the bottom three at Christmas.
With a hectic schedule ahead of both sides over the festive period, Stam says there's plenty of hard work going in to get points on the board.
He said: “Burton are working very hard as a team. They’ve got good players individually and they’ve got a certain way of playing away from home as well.
“If you let them play then they’re going to make it difficult for a lot of teams. I’ve seen it already from previous games they’ve played as well, so we can expect a team that’s really up for it against us.
“They won’t give us much time on the ball or not too much space to play, we need to be ready for that counter-attack as well.
“We know their manager (Nigel Clough), he’s a good manager, done very well with the club so hopefully it’s going to be a nice game."
Having conceded twice in the final 10 minutes against Cardiff City, and a disappointing result at Portman Road last weekend, Stam insists the squad's confidence hasn't wavered in the pursuit of a strong season.
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“The players are confident. They show it week in, week out in the way we want to play but we need to win and we know that.
“The players are very frustrated when the win’s not there, but we can’t say to ourselves that we expect to win every game because we’re playing against good sides as well, but they’re working hard and they’re confident that we can do well against every team.
“We know what we need to work on and that’s what we try to do on the days we’re in, having the training sessions and hopefully every time we can make steps and improve."
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