Veljko Paunovic urges Reading to bounce back from Coventry loss
Reading boss Veljko Paunovic has challenged his side to quickly show their promotion credentials once again in the Sky Bet Championship clash with Preston on Wednesday.
The Royals lost 3-2 at Coventry last Friday night, which allowed their top-six rivals to take full advantage and eat into their lead.
Paunovic, though, expects the players to move on and focus on what had taken them clear with an eight-match unbeaten league run.
“All we have is the next game, there is nothing else,” Paunovic said on Reading’s official club website.
“We believe in the team, so we just encourage our guys to bounce back, as soon as possible in the best possible mindset, because we have our next game on Wednesday and we have to be ready.
“There is a fantastic affection between the whole group here. We have got a fantastic atmosphere, and the confidence of the group is there – we felt we could and maybe should have won on Friday night.
“But can we do better? Do we have to do better? Yes. We even said when we were winning that we could do better and that we have to keep improving. That is the mentality.
“It is easier when you win of course, but we will stay disciplined.
“We started looking to the next game the morning after the defeat at Coventry, analysing everything and seeing what we can improve, and we will continue to take it one game at a time.”
Defender Liam Moore picked up an ankle problem at Coventry, while forward Yakou Meite continues to manage his own ankle issue which saw him miss out on Friday night.
Paunovic is not looking for any excuses, saying: “We don’t allow ourselves to dwell on injuries, we will always keep ourselves accountable for our performances.
“We have to do a good job of recovering from fatigue and knocks ourselves – the players’ mindset and bodies have to be in the best possible shape.”
Preston boss Alex Neil is expecting a response from Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Birmingham.
“We just need to make sure we start the game well and do what we have been doing away from home,” he said www.pnefc.net.
“We just want to get that element of consistency now.”
Watford will be out to kickstart their push for a swift return to the Premier League when they host Stoke having not won in three Championship matches.
Hornets head coach Vladimir Ivic said on the club’s official website: “It doesn’t matter who you play against, you must give your maximum and be on the top level to win the game.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Birmingham host strugglers Wycombe, QPR head to Derby, who have drawn their last three games, Nottingham Forest are at home against Coventry while Rotherham take on Luton.