The big kick-off for the new campaign comes in less than a fortnight – midfield man Pelle Clement feels that progress in pre-season is all on the right lines ahead of the season’s start.
After our pre-season friendly against Crystal Palace at Madejski Stadium next Saturday, the next outing is the Championship curtain-raiser against Derby County on Friday 3rd August.
“Pre-season always goes quicker than you think,” Pelle said. “You always go into it thinking we’ve got loads of time… but now it’s two weeks until the season starts!
“There are bits and pieces left to do, but I think we’re on the right track.
“The facilities were good, the weather was great, and we had a good laugh with the boys – which I think is important. The new boys have settled in well too.
“We deserved the two results in Austria. It is good to feel that we can do it against the big teams. But in the end, even though it was Beşiktaş and Rubin Kazan, there was nothing on the line! So we need to do it in the Championship.”
Midfielder Clement played over an hour against Rubin Kazan on Friday – he was pleased with aspects of his own performance as well as a strong team display.
“It was a tough game against good opposition – Rubin were good on and off the ball,” continued Clement. “They were a strong team who pressed high, but we did well. It was a tight game.
“We have been working on our defensive shape – back home at Hogwood and especially in Austria. You can see that on the field.
“First of all, you have to defend your goal. Sometimes you have to drop in and defend well, and if there’s an opportunity to counter with players like Mo and Sone, then we need to use that.
“I think I did alright in the build-up against Rubin, supporting the defenders to work the ball forward, but as the gaffer said I need to go forward and join in with the play in their half and create something.”