Another midweek match against a team which are scrapping for survival. This time, it’s Middlesbrough who come to RG2 on Tuesday evening.
Their position in the standings means little, according to Royals centre-half Michael Morrison. With opportunities to get points running out for those who need it most, the defender is preparing to see Boro at their most dangerous.
“They’re all difficult games at this stage of the season,” he said. “You can look at the league table, but it almost doesn’t count – because everyone is fighting for their lives.
“After the break, there was a bit of a lull – but everyone has regrouped and got that fighting spirit.
“Neil Warnock has gone in there at Middlesbrough – he knows how to win games and sort his teams out. He’s got that little magic touch, where he can get the right results and gets the group battling together in the right direction.
“They’ve got top talent there, with Assombalonga and Fletcher up front. They’re a real threat. We’ll have to be ready to match that – like we were at Charlton – and to show our quality.”
Since the break, the Royals are yet to register a win at Madejski Stadium – the side have earned draws against Stoke City and Huddersfield, as well as being defeated by Brentford.
And while it’s not a ‘home game’ in the sense of having our partisan fans there in support of the side, the defender is keen nevertheless to get things right on our own turf.
He continued: “Everybody comes to the home games. The away ones can be harder to get to… although at the moment it’s impossible!
“But home is really important. It’s where your core of fans usually are and there is an expectation to go and get results. You want to score goals in front of as many of your fans as possible.
“We want to get points at the Madejski. I’m sure that will come. At the moment, we’ve ticked off a few more wins – we were looking over our shoulder a bit, but we’ve pushed on from there – now we’re looking up towards the top ten.
“That changes the mentality of the football club a bit. For a few years, we have been looking over our shoulder a bit – all of a sudden we are starting to look up the table and we’re aiming to finish with real positivity, so that we can start quick and start brightly next season.”