Roy­als are ready to fin­ish with a flour­ish

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Luke Baker

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.”

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