Wokingham Today

Fans have their part to play to keep Royals on the up


PAUL CLEMENT says the Reading fans will play a huge part in keeping their side afloat in the Championsh­ip.

The attendance for Friday night’s victory over Queens Park Rangers surpassed the 20,000 mark for just the fourth time this season at Madejski Stadium after recent four-figure showings, and the crowd helped the side end their nine-game winless drought.

Clement could not continue his perfect start as Reading boss when he took his team to Aston Villa on Tuesday evening, losing 3-0.

But the Royals return to the Mad Stad on Saturday for the visit of Preston North End (3pm), looking to pull further clear of the relegation zone with the gap currently five points.

“We’ve got to move forward quickly,” said Clement.

“We move on to Preston. We want to play well, get the home fans behind us again and get the right result.

“The home games are massive.

“You’ve got that advantage of your fans getting right behind you and familiar territory for the players so we need to take advantage of that.”

Royals managed to hold out promotion hopefuls Aston Villa in the first half on Tuesday, but the deadlock was broken seconds after the restart through Birkir Bjarnason’s screamer.

Conor Hourihane and Scott Hogan added gloss to the win on a night where Reading failed to register a shot on target.

And Clement says his team must become more balanced.

“It was a difficult situation,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we don’t forget to attack.

“In the first half we were doing a lot of good things defensivel­y but we’ve still got to remember that we’ve got good players who can create opportunit­ies and put the opposition under threat.

“We can’t just think about defending.” He added: “We got to half-time 0-0 and then it’s really important to keep things nice and tight in the first five or 10 minutes after the break but conceding the goal on 46 minutes was a big mental blow for the team.

“It was difficult to get back into it then.”

 ?? Picture: Steve Smyth ?? Paul Clement
Picture: Steve Smyth Paul Clement

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