On a return to Ewood Park in the role of Royals boss, Mark Bowen is keen that his team ends their away campaign for 2019-20 on a winning note.
It’s effectively a dead rubber – neither side any longer in the race at either end of the table. But Reading have an opportunity to go within a point of Rovers, who occupy a place in the top half at present, and there’ll be no relaxation from the Royals boss until the final whistle blows on the final day.
“If we get results where we’ve been disappointed, invariably we bounce back,” said Bowen. “The problem is, too many times we’ve had to bounce back instead of stringing out consistency.
“So we’ll prepare as well as we can for Blackburn, and put demands on the players there to go and get a result – like we’ve done in our last two away games.
“I’ve got to be careful that we don’t just go through the motions in the next two games. That’s not good enough for the fans watching, and not good enough for the club.
“And Blackburn is one of my old clubs – I spent a few happy years there as an assistant manager, so I’d like to go back and get a result.”
After returning to the team after the restart, Lucas João picked up a fresh injury in our first match back – frustratingly for everyone, he hasn’t been able to return to the side.
As much as the boss would like to use him, he is also aware that the long-term health of the front-man the most important this – especially with a short summer coming up.
“I’ve got a conundrum with Lucas – he’s had a hamstring issue, and now he’s started back in training – not on a big pitch, but in small-sided games,” Bowen continued. “He wants to play and he’s keen to start games.
“But it’s a huge decision, because where we find ourselves at the moment, the last thing I need is for him to be involved in the next two games and something happen to him. It’s a very short period between then and the start of next season.
“All I want is to have him fit and 100% ready at the start of next season. So we’ll monitor the situation with him.”