Members of Reading FC training today at Hogwood Park in Arborfield Phil Creighton
Saturday’s fifth round FA Cup game against Derby County will be a chance for the Royals to bounce back after Tuesday’s defeat to Leeds, which manager Steve Clarke said was “disappointing”.
And while the team will be going all out for a win, Steve is not letting his players get ahead of themselves and dream of a Wembley final.
“I don’t want to get carried away,” Steve said. “I’ll be keeping the squad grounded. This game is to get to the quarter finals.”
Saturday’s away fixture against Steve McClaren’s Derby will be a stiff test for Steve Clarke’s rejuvenated Royals: the Rams have already beaten Reading twice this season and will be looking to make it three in a row.
“It’s a difficult game, Derby away,” Steve admitted.
However, Reading have already won two difficult away fixtures in this season’s Cup run and will be looking to win to continue their fine FA Cup form and atone for Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat against Leeds in the Championship.
Steve, who played for Chelsea when they lifted the FA Cup in the 1996-97 season, said that it has always “been a good competition for me” and he’s hoping that he can be the first Reading manager to bring the famous football trophy to the Thames Valley.
“My ambition is to win the cup – it’s the ambition of everyone to win the cup.” he said, adding that he is ensuring the players are focusing only on their preparations for Saturday’s match.
“You can only go from game to game. You can’t be sitting in the fifth round of the cup talking about winning – you have to get to the final before you pick up the cup.”
There is no chance of Reading fielding a weakened side in Saturday’s game. Steve is ensuring his players go out to win and ensure a passage to the quarter finals.
He said: “The message that comes from me – whether it’s a cup competition or it’s anything –
you take the competition seriously. All the players know you’re taking it seriously and all they pick up on wanting to do as well as you can.”
And Steve knows that the loyal Royals fans travelling to Derby’s iPro stadium have a crucial role to play.
He said: “It’s important they go in good numbers, they enjoy their day out and they enjoy the maximum from the team, [the team] perform and get the result out.
“It’s a game they [the team] want to win.”
Derby County have allocated 2,675 tickets to Reading fans, costing £15, £10 for over 65s and under 18s and £5 for under 12s. They can be bought online up until noon on Friday, February 13.
For more details, log on to Reading’s website.