Rock bottom of the Sky Bet Championship with just 10 points from 16 games – it hasn’t been an easy start to the season for Saturday’s visitors Ipswich Town.
But with a recent change of management – Paul Lambert taking the hotseat at Portman Road last month – as well as the unpredictable nature of the Championship means that Royals boss Paul Clement knows his team can’t afford to take anything for granted.
“For me, this is a complicated game – a difficult game,” said Clement. “Of course whether we play the team at the top or bottom of the table, all of the games are very difficult.
“And I think Ipswich will come with a lot of motivation. They don’t want to be bottom – they want to try and close the gap on the teams above them, one of which is us.
“They have a new manager – a manager with a lot of experience in this division and the league above, as well as European football and he was a really good player. He will be working his players really hard and he’ll have had another week to instil some of his ideas of how he wants his team to play.
“We would be very naïve to expect an easy game. In fact, I’m expecting the opposite – maybe our hardest game of the season.
“Often when a manager comes in, there’s the ‘manager bounce’ – that immediate impact on performances and results. He got a draw in his first game – it can be a dangerous time to play against a team when they’ve got a new manager.”
For Reading, it offers a chance for back-to-back victories for the first time this season. Last weekend’s 3-2 win against Bristol City left everyone at Madejski Stadium with that feelgood factor… and that’s ramp up a notch with another win going into the international weekend!
“Last weekend we got a good result and it came at a very important time,” he continued. “Now all of the focus is on backing that up with another win going into the international break. So it’s an important game.
“We haven’t had many wins this season. The pressure had built a lot for the last game because we’d lost two games on the road.
“We’re desperate to get ourselves up the table, and we have a fantastic opportunity this weekend to get a good, positive result. If we do, I think we’ll climb out of the relegation zone and it’ll be a good moment to do that because we don’t play for another two weeks.
“Everyone likes to have a good performance going into the international break. All of our efforts will be going into trying to get that performance, getting that result, getting back-to-back wins, getting out of the relegation zone.”