Midfielder John Swift is prepared for a real battle in tomorrow’s crucial Sky Bet Championship clash with relegation rivals Sunderland.
The Black Cats head to the Madejski Stadium in desperate need of points, sitting six adrift of safety with only four matches left.
Reading are not safe, with Paul Clement’s men in sixth-bottom spot, five points above the drop zone, though third-bottom Barnsley have a game in hand.
Swift expects a fight, telling readingfc.co.uk: “It’ll be a really tough game. They’ve got a really physical team, so we need to get control of the game early, get the ball moving like I know we can.
“They’re going to defend well as well. They’re not going to want to concede early, so it might be a cautious first 10-15 minutes or so. For us, we need to get the ball down and create chances.”
Manager Paul Clement is calling the big game as the Royals’ most important match of the season, and Swift revealed that the boss spelled out the importance of it in the aftermath of Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Fulham.
“He put it across to us right before he said it in his interview!” Swift said.
“We all know we’ve got to win, it’s a massive game for us – obviously a big game for them as well – but, for us, getting three points would help us a lot.
“The recent atmosphere has helped us a lot, especially with the QPR game.
“That was a big one, first game for the manager and we heard the fans from start to finish.
“It helps a lot when you’ve got 10 minutes left, it gives the boys an extra boost and we’ll definitely need it again on Saturday. We need that 12th man and we need to push on.
“We’ve done well at home for the last two games, we need that again – we need three points badly, no matter how we get it.
“We need a good atmosphere and we need the fans to get behind everyone.”