ROYALS HAVE THE FIST FOR A FIGHT!
Pearce: We have knowhow to succeed
JASON ROBERTS may be on the verge of retirement but Alex Pearce says Reading still have the experience to maintain a play-off charge.
Roberts, 36, has not played a minute of football for the Royals this season due to a persistent knee injury and has reportedly been advised to call time on his 17-year career.
It has been over a year since Roberts turned out for the Berkshire outfit – December 2012 in a 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
But 25-year-old centre back Pearce, who will start today against QPR at Loftus Road, believes they have enough character in the squad to see them finish in the top six come May.
“This dressing room has got so much experience in it, players who were part of the squad who won the league two years ago, and boys who played in the Premier League with us last season. That will hold us in good stead for the run-in,” he said.
“It’s a big game on Sunday against QPR, a good team with some really good players. We’ll all have to be on our toes from start to finish, all on our game if we’re to get a result. We need to focus on ourselves.
“We are in the mix at the moment and we want to stay in the mix but there is still a long way to go.
“We’re probably looking at the play-off places as our aim now and we’ve got a big month coming up.
“The club want to move up the table, and be in and around it come the end of the season. Notoriously over the past number of years at this football club, we’ve come strong in the second half of the season.
“We got off to a decent start this year and if we can do the same again as we have done over the last few years here, we would get ourselves up to where we want to be in the table.”
Danny Guthrie will be looking to start, following his return as a substitute last Saturday but both Jem Karacan (cruciate) and Mikele Leigertwood (ankle) are still some way off.
Pearce’s own involvement was in doubt after his red card against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.
Pearce was given his marching orders only nine minutes into the 2-0 loss to Wednesday after he bundled over Benik Afobe and conceded a penalty. But the FA’s decision to uphold Reading’s appeal means that the defender is available, and Pearce has now called for video technology to be introduced.
He added: “You’ve got to give credit to the FA for reviewing it and coming up with the right decision.
“It’s just a shame that the lads have had to play 80 minutes of the game with ten men, because if we have had 11 men out on the pitch it would have been a lot easier for us to get the result we wanted.
“Everybody’s talking about video technology these days and I think it would help referees in instances like last weekend’s.
“It all happens at such a speed, referees have got a very hard job these days. So they could do with some help for decisions like that.
“We’ll look how important that decision was come the end of the season, but for now I’m just pleased that justice has been done. Now it’s time to move on.”
BACK IN BUSINESS: Alex Pearce is available for this afternoon’s clash after a successful appeal of his red card against Sheffield Wednesday