Veljko Paunovic demands Royal recovery in ‘very hard game’ at Bournemouth
Reading manager Veljko Paunovic is calling upon his squad to bounce back from their three-game losing streak when they visit Bournemouth in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
The Royals top the league having enjoyed an unbeaten spell that lasted until their 3-2 defeat at the hands of Coventry on October 30, a result that was then followed by two subsequent losses to Preston and Stoke.
Paunovic is hoping his side can regroup after the international break and rediscover their early form against Bournemouth, who are currently fourth in the table having lost only one league fixture this season.
“It’s going to be a very hard game, but I’m excited, I like to embrace these games,” he told the club website.
“I think that Bournemouth are one of the best teams in the league, definitely a contender for the top six if not the top two spots in the table, so it’s not going to be easy.
“We have to acknowledge that we did a good job at the start of the season and we have to embrace what we have done so far.
“Now we have to get back… we have to find the balance.
“We had a bad week of results, but every team in the world can have a bad week. In the games we lost, when you look at our metrics, you will see there was still improvements in our game: our fitness levels, shots on goal, ball possession, pass completion, creation of goal-scoring opportunities.”
Daniel Farke’s Norwich look to extend their unbeaten run to eight games when they visit Middlesbrough, who are also riding high having not suffered a defeat in 10 fixtures.
Farke acknowledged that a confident Boro squad represent a significant test for the club, but countered that his own team have also proved difficult to score against this season.
“Perhaps tomorrow it will be 5-5, because both teams haven’t conceded many,” he said on canaries.co.uk.
“I expect a game where we have to be patient and efficient. It’s difficult to break them and they’re in a top unbeaten run.”
The German also spoke of his admiration for Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock, saying: “I like Neil Warnock a lot because I love characters and he’s a big one.
“He’s done it for so many years with so many promotions. He’s so experienced and still full of energy and motivation. Even if you don’t like his style, you have to admire it.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, second-from-bottom Sheffield Wednesday head to Preston to play their first game with new manager Tony Pulis at the helm.
Bottom club Derby are also undergoing a change of personnel as they face Bristol City under the temporary care of a quartet of coaches that includes Wayne Rooney.
Second-placed Watford are hoping to resume a winning run against Mark Warburton’s QPR, who have won just three of the 11 games they have played this season, while eighth-placed Stoke clash with Huddersfield.
Barnsley will face Nottingham Forest at Oakwell, whereas Cardiff are away at the Den to tackle Millwall.
Luton take on Blackburn at Kenilworth Road, Swansea host Rotherham and Brentford are away at Wycombe.