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INTERVIEW: Clean sheets encourage Gomes as Reading FC head to Hillsborough

Gomes also expresses frustration over Oliveira injury

Jose Gomes is confident Reading are not far from turning draws into wins as he prepares to take his team to Hillsborough on Saturday.

The Royals have won just one of Gomes’ eight games in charge so far, 2-0 against Nottingham Forest, and have slipped into the Championship relegation zone.

But there have been encouraging signs in recent weeks, including a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa on Saturday, which leaves Reading one point from safety with 16 games to play.

Reading and Villa drew a blank

PODCAST: Tom and Olly preview this weekend’s trip to Hillsborough

That starts this weekend at Sheffield Wednesday where the Royals are seeking just a second away win of the campaign.

“What happened since I arrived is we increased a lot of numbers in our stats,” said Gomes.

“We’ve reduced the average number of goals that we concede, even with the 4-1 loss against Swansea.

“We’ve increased the number of shots on goal and increased a lot the ball possession from 49 to 60.

“We’ve increased the points average that we collected in these seven games, but it’s not enough. We need to win.

“We also have a good sign that in seven games, we have three clean sheets, compared with the previous coach Paul Clement, who in 20 games got two clean sheets and Scott Marshall zero in three games.

“The players are giving very good signs, but these good signs are important for the points that we will collect in the future, but are not enough for what we need.

“We need to win more to get the points that we need.

Nelson Oliveira will miss the trip north

“If we look at the previous 10 seasons there is a big difference between the points that we need to be in a safe position.”

WIN! Tickets to see Reading take on Blackburn at the Mad Stad

While the Royals have shut up shop at the back, goals scored is proving a problem for Gomes’ men.

They have netted just five goals in his eight games in charge so far and the Portuguese admits something is lacking in attack.

“Movements playing in behind are missing in our play,” said Gomes.

“We are doing very good movements to create support pass lines, which gives us more ball possession because when one player has the ball, four players come to give support. But only one player sometimes is making the movement in the (opposition) defensive line.

“We need to increase these movements. More movements in the defensive line will mean the probability of putting the ball in the opponent’s goal will be higher.”

Reading’s attacking cause has not been helped by an injury to new striker signing Nelson Oliveira.

READ: Explosive 30-minute interview with Oliveira, who says Mings could have avoided gruesome clash and calls for FA action

The Norwich City loanee netted on his debut against Bolton Wanderers but is set to miss this weekend’s trip to Sheffield after undergoing surgery to repair a broken nose and five deep cuts suffered following a challenge by Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings.

Tyrone Mings received no punishment

No foul was awarded at the time and as referee Geoff Eltringham says he saw the incident in his match report, the FA can take no retrospective action, leaving Mings clear to play for Villa.

And Gomes says action must be taken.

“I must say the truth,” he began.

“The truth is that from the bench and during the game, for me it doesn’t look like an intentional action. But when I watch the pictures, I have no doubt at all that it was an intentional action to touch Nelson’s face in the moment that he stepped.

“After he stepped on Nelson’s face, he broke his nose in four places, scars everywhere and he cannot train, he’s off the pitch for the next match. I cannot judge the referee because from the bench it was an accidental action.

“The point here is that the federation cannot do anything because the referee saw it on the pitch. But the problem is the referee didn’t see it because I’m sure that if the referee watched the pictures and took a decision afterwards, the decision for sure would be very, very tough for Mings.”

He continued: “We cannot judge the referee, we must help the referee.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is back in the squad

“How can we do it? I don’t know but I know one thing, we must think about that because we are talking about football players that can get a very serious injury if nothing happens. Now we could’ve been talking about an ex-player if Mings’ boot touched Nelson’s eye, he could be a blind player and nothing happened.

“I’m not against the referee, I’m not against the federation, I’m just supporting my player and football, to protect football. It was not a football action, it was a different thing.

“I think it’s not fair that Nelson is out. He cannot even breathe properly and with the other player, nothing happened. I think it’s not fair.

“If King Solomon gives justice, it should be that Mings can only play when Nelson is completely ready to play. How can the federation fix this problem?

“Something must be done.”

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is set to return having missed last weekend’s Villa clash as he and his fiancee welcomed a baby daughter but Ovie Ejaria is a doubt through illness. Garath McCleary also missed some training this week with flu, but returned on Thursday so should make the trip.

Jordan Obita (knee), Saeid Ezatolahi (hip/quad), Anssi Jaakkola (Achilles) and Sam Baldock (thigh) are all still absent.

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