Royals are ready to finish with a flourish
READING manager Nigel Adkins is backing his players to reach the Premier League – but only if they win all five games left in their mini season.
Despite a crippling injury list and uncertainty about the club’s ownership, the Royals have limped into the home straight still in contention for a return to the topflight.
The equation is simple: win every game between now and May 24 – the date of the Championship play-off final – and they will complete an instant return.
And while Adkins admits there will be plenty of twists and turns, he wants the Royals to apply the blinkers on the home straight.
“It is a five-game season and while the league table will change over the weekend it is still in our hands,” he said.
“I would back us all the way when we get into the play-off positions but everything that has happened this season we put to one side and we focus with a desire and a hunger and a positivity to go and win five games.
“If you then get to the play-offs and win two and draw one then you get yourself into the Premier League.”
While Adkins is preaching optimism his list of problems continues to grow with Danny Guthrie sidelined with a calf problem that could rule him out until the end of the season.
Midfield partner Danny Williams is also a doubt with a knee injury while Hope Akpan, Garath McCleary and Michael Hector face fitness tests.
Leicester are likely to hand Gary Taylor-Fletcher a start after he came off the bench to score in the 4-1 thumping by Brighton.
And despite having already earned promotion, Taylor-Fletcher insists the Foxes will not coast to the finish. “We have to go to the end.We have worked so hard all season – to let it slip now is not good enough,” he said.
“We have five games to go and we want a winner’s medal.
“Yes, we are promoted, but we want to win every one of those five games left.”