Paul Clement hopes his squad will grow into pre-season as the quality of their opposition increases over the course of July.
After another run-out against League One side, AFC Wimbledon at the weekend, the Royals will continue to build up their sharpness and match fitness against Fulham before flying off to Austria for a training camp.
Two different squads were put out for each half at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, as the hosts ran out 4-2 winners on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking after the match, Clement said: "I think the pattern was clear. In the first half, the first 20 minutes or so I thought we were good without being absolutely clinical.
"After the water break, energy levels went down because we've trained very hard on the training pitch. The same in the second half, the second half team had that cutting edge, fatigued in the last part so the game opened up and they had more chances.
"AFC Wimbledon played very well. I thought it was a good game - the kind of test we need at this point of the season. With each game now, the tests get harder and harder - that's what you want in pre-season.
"You'll start to see more players playing 60 minutes with others playing 30, then 75 and 15, and then ultimately a 90.
"Every game is an opportunity for the players to step up. There's lots of competition for places, they've got to show they're better than their colleague for their role.
"It's a good thing, competition is healthy. I would say we're a little bit behind where we need to be, we've got four weeks to go - we've got to get going.
"We're going to be ready for the first game of the season, no question about it."
With a week in Austria to come and European opposition to look forward to in Rubin Kazan and Beşiktaş, Clement hopes to grasp every opportunity to improve the players ahead of the new season.
"Every training session and every game is an opportunity to learn," Clement explained. "The schedule has been structured that every game is a step up in quality and competition.
"As we get towards the beginning of the season, the players will be fitter, sharper and more clued in with the tactical concepts.
"The important thing is that we're ready for the first game of the season. We absolutely want to win every game we play in, so as professionals we're disappointed we've not won a game there, but all that will be forgotten if we win the first game of the season.