Biggest game of our season – Reading boss Paul Clement on Sunderland showdown

Sunderland's George Honeyman keeps possession in December's home clash with Reading, which the Royals won 3-1. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland's George Honeyman keeps possession in December's home clash with Reading, which the Royals won 3-1. Picture by Frank Reid
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Reading boss Paul Clement has enjoyed victories in his two home matches in charge, since replacing Jaap Stam, with Preston and QPR both beaten by a single goal in front of a noisy Madejski Stadium crowd.

He wants more of the same from the home fans against Sunderland, as Reading look to extend their five-point gap to the drop zone against a visiting side six points from safety.

“Our players are leaving everything out there – they’re giving their absolute best,” ex-Derby boss Clement told readingfc.co.uk.

“We want to get into a situation where we’re creating more opportunities, but the priority has been to get a nice, solid foundation defensively.

“We’ve started to look better in defence.

“This is the biggest game of our season.

“The situation with the table is that we’re five points above relegation and Barnsley have got a game this weekend.

“If Sunderland don’t get a result themselves, it’ll be really difficult for them. And it’s vital for us to get a positive result again, and if we do, it puts us in a really good situation.

“If you don’t mentally prepare for Sunderland at their best, you’re in danger.

“They went to Derby recently, a team that are pushing for promotion, and they beat them 4-1.

“So we have to expect a really good Sunderland side to come here, and one that will push for the win – they know they have to win this game.

“Our fans have been brilliant. It’s absolutely vital that they come and support the team again.

“Hopefully they’ll turn up and push the players on… they’ve done that so far, and I don’t see any reason why they won’t do that again. I’m sure they also realise that it’s a massive game.”