Two weeks away from action… and then three games in the space of eight days. That’s the nature of the Sky Bet Championship!
And while there are nine points at stake over the course of a little over a week, it’s first things first as far as manager Paul Clement is concerned. Millwall come to Madejski Stadium this weekend, and that’s his sole focus.
“All we’re concentrating on is that first game against Millwall,” Clement explained. “We know we’ve got a game a couple of days later against Birmingham and then we’re playing Swansea – but all of our focus is on Millwall.
“I’m not thinking about the team for the game against Birmingham or the game against Swansea. I’m only thinking about picking a team to play against Millwall, and about getting a good performance in.
“Millwall were strong last season – very strong. They play a physical and direct style and we’ll have to match them in that capacity. And we have to turn around our home form, which has not been good.
“They have had their own struggles this season; they had a good result last time out against Aston Villa, but they are a place and a point above us. It’s a tough game; they all are. We’ll have to be at our best.
“We want to get a home win, we really do. We’ve just had the one so far against Hull, and we performed really well that day. We started well and played out a comfortable 3-0 victory… our aim has to be to put in that type of performance.”
The fortnight-long wait between games has left the manager and his players itching to set the record straight.
The Royals led at the break last time out at West Bromwich Albion, only to be overturned in the second half. And Clement has been desperate to get back to competitive action ever since!
“That’s the feeling that I have and that the players have to,” he continued. “After the poor second-half performance against West Brom, we want to get back out there and show what we can do better.
“We did very well in the first half of that match, but now we need to do that for the 90 minutes against Millwall.
“In the meantime we have trained hard. We used the opportunity last week to get some good sessions into the players and a lot of volume physically.
“The same this week as well – we’ve been in every day. We’ll be ready – the players have trained well.”
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