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Bowen | "I want teams to know they've been in a battle against us"

Manager hoping to continue positive form against Millwall

31 October 2019

Mark Bowen spoke of Reading's desire to get back out on the pitch at the weekend, after last Saturday's scheduled encounter against Nottingham Forest was called off due to a waterlogged playing surface.

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The Royals were already in Nottingham having gone through their preparations for the game, with more than 1,100 travelling supporters ultimately having to turn around on their journey as the match was postponed.

"It was frustrating inasmuch as we were going into the game full of confidence, coming off the back of two really positive results. Mentally, we were in a good place," Bowen said of the disappointment at not playing.

"Then, if you looked at Nottingham Forest, they'd lost their last two games. We travelled up on Friday thinking there was an opportunity for us to keep going, keep picking up points and doing well.

"In fairness, in the last two games we've played, our physical stats have been through the roof - which you expect as a new manager. In hindsight, on Sunday I woke up a bit more philosophical and thought that, physically, there was a chance we could have fallen off a cliff, and we had a few people carrying bumps as well.

"Things happen for a reason, we'll take the positives out of it. We've had a free week to go and prepare for a home game against Millwall, so we're in a good spot."

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Of course, in the Championship there is rarely time to dwell, and the next test for the Royals is not far away, against Gary Rowett's Millwall at Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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Rowett took charge of his first match in the dugout with the Lions last weekend, as they swept aside his former club, Stoke City in a well-earned 2-0 win.

The Royals have had a hard-working week on the training pitches at Hogwood as they gear up for Millwall's visit this weekend.

"Gary's gone in there and had a great first result, it's no mean feat to beat Stoke 2-0," Bowen continued. "It's up to us to prepare ourselves properly physically and in terms of what we know about them, and how we can hurt them with the ammunition we've got, and conversely being aware of what they're good at.

"Without looking too far ahead, we've got two games before the international break and it's a different situation whereby, being at home, we're going to be expected to be favourites going into the game.

"There are different expectations, but we've got to make sure that we come out of those games with points on the board."

The Reading manager has spoken on multiple occasions about his hope to make the Royals a difficult side to play against and a tough proposition for their opponents, which is something he's keen to emphasise.

"I've done it this week and it's something I'll continue to do for as long as I'm here, it's a true belief of mine," he elaborated.

"It doesn't stop you being a good footballing side, we've got really talented footballers at this club. Also, if we can mix that with being a difficult side to beat and be tougher, a bit nastier and having people fear playing us - not just because we're a good football side, but because they'll know that they've been in a battle. That can only be good for us."

There's still time to secure your seat for Saturday's game at Madejski Stadium, click here for full ticket information as Reading get ready to take on Millwall.

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