Royals defender Chris Gunter is looking forward to putting practice into action against Beşiktaş on Tuesday evening, when the two sides meet for a friendly fixture in Graz.
It’s the first meeting in Austria for the Royals, and the fourth pre-season game overall… and a chance to try and put plans into action.
“We’re moving along now in our preparations,” Gunter said. “This will be the toughest game we’ve played so far, but one where we’ll carry on trying to move our training onto the pitch in a match situation.
“When you play a team that isn’t necessarily the same as the what you come up against every week, they pose you different challenges to what you’re used to. You have to adapt on the pitch.
“The level and the quality will be high, and that’s what you want in pre-season. You want to come off the pitch feeling that you’ve have a physical and footballing test. I’m sure we’ll get that.
“From the first day we came back in we’ve been working really hard and the games have built up in terms of the level of opposition. That will continue until the start of the season. Even though it’s a couple of weeks away, it will go quickly and we’ll soon be getting ready for our first game.
“It’s exciting times; the weather has been good back home and here. It’s been tough but enjoyable.
“Pre-season involves longer days – in the early weeks there were a lot of double-sessions, so the volume of training is higher. It gives the manager time to work and get his ideas across of what he wants and the way we want to play this season.
“It’s a chance to have more hours on the pitch, as well as meetings together. There’s more preparation time, and a chance to be prepared as we can be for when that first game comes round.”
Tuesday also marks six years since Gunter first signed terms with the Royals, joining from Nottingham Forest in 2012.
In that time, the full-back has enjoyed plenty of highs, and experienced disappointments too. All part and parcel of an extended spell with a team!
“It’s gone quick!” he continued. “There have been some very good times, and some not so good… that’s what you expect over a long period.
“But it has been a fantastic place to be, to come to work every day.
“I have met some very good people and it has been a huge honour to have been here this long. Hopefully there’s many more years yet to come."