ROY­ALS HAVE TO UP GAME – DAN

Read­ing mid­fielder fears rel­e­ga­tion battle

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Aaron Fowler

READ­ING mid­fielder Danny Wil­liams has warned his team-mates that League One – and not Wem­b­ley – is their likely des­ti­na­tion if they don’t get their act to­gether fast.

The Roy­als made it three im­pres­sive wins on the road in the FA Cup against Cham­pi­onship op­po­si­tion with a su­perb 2-1 win at high-fly­ing Derby last Satur­day.

But they slipped back to their bad old ways in the league by go­ing down to a shock 1-0 re­verse against rel­e­ga­tion-haunted Wi­gan on Tues­day night. The pre­vi­ous Tues­day the Roy­als had also let home points squirm through their grasp, los­ing 2-0 against Leeds.

While a clash at team of the tour­na­ment Brad­ford City – from League One – is now all that stands be­tween Read­ing and a first semi-fi­nal place since 1927, Wil­liams is adamant they’ve got to up their level.

Steve Clarke’s side were just seven points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone fol­low­ing the mid­week de­feat by the Lat­ics.

Lose

The Ger­man-born USA in­ter­na­tional said: “We have to get our per­for­mances straight be­cause if you per­form like that against Wi­gan you will lose against ev­ery team, whether it’s a League One team, League Two, Pre­mier League, what­ever.

“We must face facts. If we per­form like that at home and don’t beat Leeds and Wi­gan, then we have to fight against rel­ega-

tion. “I think we have to start to re­alise that. Hope­fully we don’t get car­ried away by the re­sults in the FA Cup be­cause the league is the most im­por­tant thing and we can­not af­ford to go down. We have to turn things around.

“Brad­ford away is a dif­fi­cult draw, but we have three more games un­til we play them, so I don’t like to look too far ahead.

“And I don’t think any­one in the dress­ing room has started think­ing about Brad­ford be­cause we have to sort our­selves out.”

Since Clarke took charge of the Roy­als shortly be­fore Christ­mas, they had picked up 12 points from ten games ahead of yes­ter­day’s trip to pro­mo­tion-hope­fuls Ip­swich.

It is at the Made­jski Sta­dium where their form has re­ally tailed off, though – Read­ing have won only two of their last eight home games, fail­ing to score in six of them.

And Wil­liams has or­dered his team-mates to dig deep and ad­dress their bar­ren home run.

Char­ac­ter

The 25-year-old added: “We prove one week we have the qual­ity to play against good teams in the di­vi­sion and the next week we lack a bit of char­ac­ter.

“We, as play­ers, have to ques- tion our­selves. That is what I do when I go home and ev­ery player should, be­cause at the mo­ment the gaffer could switch 11 play­ers next week.”

Last term 44 points was enough to keep Birm­ing­ham City in the di­vi­sion, al­beit on goal dif­fer­ence at Don­caster’s ex­pense.

And Wil­liams’ team-mate Jor­dan Obita is not pre­pared to take any chances.

“I would prob­a­bly say we need some­where be­tween 15 and 20 points to make sure we’re safe,” said Obita, with Read­ing on 37 be­fore the week­end.

“That’s to make sure we’re not any­where near the rel­e­ga­tion zone.”

PIC­TURE: Pin­na­cle

HOLD­ING COURT: Danny Wil­liams re­tains pos­ses­sion for the Roy­als

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