ROY­ALS HAVE THE FIST FOR A FIGHT!

Pearce: We have knowhow to suc­ceed

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jack McCluskey

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.

Tech­nol­ogy

“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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BACK IN BUSI­NESS: Alex Pearce is avail­able for this af­ter­noon’s clash af­ter a suc­cess­ful ap­peal of his red card against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day

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