Even after that outstanding run of unbeaten games, defeats never feel nice. The Royals had that sensation at Millwall for the first time in ten games on Saturday; manager Mark Bowen knows that the true worth of his side will be how they react to that when they visit Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening.
Reading had been due to go there earlier in the season, but wet weather in the East Midlands put paid to the game. But now we will play our game in hand under the City Ground floodlights, just 11 days after we met them at Madejski Stadium.
“We’ve been on a good run; it’s about how we bounce back,” said the Royals boss. “I told the guys in the dressing room after Millwall: that’s the measure of us.
“We’ve got a big game again on Wednesday against Nottingham Forest and it’s about how we bounce back from that.
“In our first game against Forest, we were a bit quiet in the first half, and then dominated the game in the second half. Hopefully more of the same on Wednesday.
“It’ll be a difficult game, we know. So we have to make sure that we shrug the defeat to Millwall off and get back to what we’re good at. Dust ourselves down, prepare and be ready for Forest.
“We’ll know a lot about them, and vice versa. A lot of football is the mental side of the game. Making sure that we get any bad vibes out of our system, go there and do ourselves justice.
“We will look at whether we can surprise them in any way, and whether we can combat the threats that they pose to us on the day. They’ll try to do the same.
“Last week when we played them, it was an entertaining game. We’ll show the players bits and pieces of the game against Forest, our last match against Millwall, and try to remind our players that we are a good side and that we can get confidence back and come away with the points.”