A great result last time out against Nottingham Forest – Royals boss José Gomes is keen to make it back-to-back wins against their East Midland rivals Derby County when we visit Pride Park this weekend.
The Rams went through 120 minutes plus penalties on Wednesday evening, defeating Premier League side Southampton at St Mary’s; they continue to challenge towards the top end of the Championship too. Any result for the Royals will have to be earned.
“We went to look at Derby in their FA Cup game at Southampton,” he said. “We had already studied details about them from watching previous matches, and we know that they are a good team with good players.
“They are able to start building up their game from the goalkeeper, they have good technical players, they have speed in the attacking position and strong central defenders. A good team.
“If we want to beat them, we must give more than our maximum.
“We are getting better, and we can feel every day that the players are buying into our ideas and that they are involved in the process. But they must give more strength to our process by getting points. We need to win again.
“We are playing very well, we are working very well. But we need to win; this is the way. Our supporters have been amazing; they have suffered this season but they come to the stadium and support our players. They deserve our maximum effort.”
Gomes wasn’t getting carried away after an impressive showing against Forest; with 19 games to go and 57 points still at stake between now and May, he knows the tough challenges are yet to come.
He continued: “We got three points – but it was only three points. Nothing more.
“Like I said after the game, we are in the middle of our work. We have 19 battles in front of us and we need to prepare for the next battle.
“We have to keep working like we are, as we are on a good track. There is a long way in front of us. We need to maintain the spirit from the previous match and use the maximum strength that we can and do good things again in our next match.
“Our players have been working very well again this week, but we have a long way to go and we must keep our focus. The important thing is to help Reading to come away from the bottom on the table.
“That’s life in football – you have no time to celebrate. You have to prepare for the next match, take the fighting spirit forward. That’s what we have been doing all week – preparing for Saturday’s match.”