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Johnson relishing Reading return

Lee Johnson believes City will be ‘sharp’ as they resume Sky Bet Championship action against Reading at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow evening (January 28th, KO 8pm).

The Robins are back in action after a 10-day break and are aiming to back up respective wins against Wigan Athletic and Barnsley with three points in Berkshire.

Head Coach Johnson said: “We’ve had a great 10 days training. We always do better on the back of a week’s session. We can do a lot of individual work and I’ve really enjoyed coaching this week on a one-on-one basis and I think the boys will be sharp going into this game.”

City sit in ninth place, two points off the play-off spots, and Johnson added: “I think that momentum comes from wins and clean sheets so to have two clean sheets and two wins in the league under our belts is really positive. We have always got goals in us as a squad, we have got talent and various ways to score, and we have got to continue that, but to have clean sheets is important.”


Reading challenge

Johnson is relishing the challenge of the Royals, saying: “I think Reading are a really good side with a lot of individual quality. They were big spenders in the summer and have a large, talented squad so we know we have to be at our best. I really like this game. We always take a good number of fans - we have a couple of thousand travelling - and both as a player and a manager they have always been end-to-end, exciting games.

“You have seen with the results over the last couple of weeks. It may be perceived that we haven’t done well and not been in great form and yet we have made eight points up on the leaders in this little spell."

Fighting for points

“You have to keep fighting for every point – if you take that punch on the nose with a bad result you have to quickly dust yourself off and go again because it’s happening everywhere in the division. It’s an extremely competitive league and that’s why we love it.

“We have the same amount of points as this time last year and hopefully in the last 18 games we’ll pick up enough points to be a promotion challenging side.”

Eyes on the prize

Transfer windows are invariable busy times for a head coach and Johnson added: “As a coach it can become all consuming and that’s the challenge – to make sure you keep your eyes on the prize which is the matches and winning them.

“Now we are at the point where the football club is big enough and strong enough to have the individuals that can be experts in their field and do the job required. So for me it’s talent ID in terms of the players I want and with that comes a lot of research, both in terms of video analysis, the live watching of games and also the word of mouth in terms of a player’s character. The challenge is to reduce the squad, to add quality and the next four or five days will be interesting.”

Tomorrow night's game goes off sale at 2pm with no pay on the night an option for travelling fans.