The Wokingham Paper

Paul Clement expects a reaction from Reading FC to ensure survival at Cardiff this weekend

A handful of fans stayed behind for the traditional lap of appreciation
Reading suffered their heaviest home defeat since 2006 last weekend (Pic by Steve Smyth)

Paul Clement says Reading’s players are eager to put things right after collapsing to lose 4-0 to Ipswich Town last weekend.

The Royals conceded four times in the final 20 minutes to suffer their heaviest home defeat since 2006, which leaves them still under threat of relegation heading into the final weekend.

PODCAST: Tom and Olly preview the final weekend of the season

Reading go to promotion-chasing Cardiff on Sunday (12.30pm) needing a point to ensure their safety, otherwise they will be relying on teams below them also losing to avoid dropping into League One.

And Clement is confident his side will get over the line.

Paul Clement is confident Reading will avoid relegation on Sunday

“I think the players that didn’t play well in the last game are keen to put it right,” he said.

“There’s no better way as a player if you’ve had a bad game, even as a coach if the game’s not gone well, to have another game to put it right.

“After the Ipswich game I thought about playing the Under-23s against Cardiff, after what I’d seen.

“But that’s not reality and that wouldn’t be sensible to do that. I think there will be a couple, but not massive changes.

“Players have been very focussed on training this week. We know we’ve missed a couple of opportunities against Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich, pick up even a point and we’d be in a better situation.

“But we’ve not played well over the last two games and we have to do a lot better in what is a very, very big challenge on Sunday.”

Clement will be without Omar Richards for the trip to Wales, but could call upon long-term absentees Paul McShane and Callum Harriott who are fit again after injury.

Leandro Bacuna is also available selection having served his three-game ban, but suspended Tyler Blackett remains sidelined.

Reading have won just three of their last 25 league games

Many fans have this week criticised the team’s recent showings, questioning their fight for a relegation scrap. But Clement insists they do have the qualities needing to battle for victory on Sunday.

“I think it’s a valid question because I would look at the last two games and think that,” he said.

“If I’d seen that in another two or three games then yeah, it would be massive concern.

“But I saw it against Sunderland, I saw the players fighting right to the very end then when the final whistle goes, they collapsed on the floor having given absolutely everything.

“I saw it against QPR, I saw it against Preston. Yeah it was lacking in those other two games.

“Why that is, I don’t think we could turn to the players and say you’ve totally given up and you don’t care, that’s not the case.

“There are other factors involved in terms of physical conditioning, mental conditioning, confidence and it has been rocked in the last couple of games.

“But what can you do? We’ve got one game to go and there’s no point in dwelling on those things, we’ve got to move forward.”

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