Blackburn can drag us back into danger zone, warns RoseniorBy Steve Williams
March 28, 2008
Liam Rosenior has warned his team-mates that defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers tomorrow (3pm kick-off) could plunge Reading back into a fierce relegation dogfight.
Steve Coppell’s men moved five points clear of the drop zone after last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Birmingham City.
But Rosenior, who successfully fought a relegation battle with Fulham last year, knows that Royals are still in real danger.
The right-back told the Evening Post: “We are not safe yet – no chance. We cannot take our foot off the pedal. Until we have 40 points on the board anything can happen.
“You look at the results from last Saturday when Sunderland won at Aston Villa. You are going to get some like that so we need to keep plugging away, winning games and keep playing like we have been. If we do that then everything will be fine.
“Confidence is good at the moment having won three out of four, but we have to keep it going. We now just look to Blackburn. If we beat them then we need to target two more wins.”
Rosenior also knows that points are all that matters now.
He added: “I was in this position last year and the performances don’t matter any more, it’s all about the results and the three points.
“We got that on Saturday because of character and resilience. A lot of teams are bigger than us, but we defended well at set-pieces.”
Reading could quite easily have lost last week as the Blues enjoyed a spell of dominance after equalising, but Rosenior praised the character of the team.
“That is your true test when you are on the pitch, how you handle the pressure,” said Rosenior. “It’s easy to cave in. We could have done so when they scored their equaliser, but we didn’t. We passed that test on Saturday.”
Rovers, who chalked up a 4-2 win over Royals at Ewood Park in October, still harbour hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
Their biggest threat will come from England international David Bentley, who is in top form for his club.
Coppell is a big fan of the former Arsenal winger and admitted he would have loved to have landed him for Reading.
The boss said: “He was way beyond our budget. You look at Arsenal reserves and they are all of a certain type – and he was one of them.
“At the time you thought ‘yeah, he’s good’ but there were question marks about consistency and maybe a little bit about his application.
“But he’s gone up there, rolled his sleeves up and he does the nitty-gritty and looks a very, very good player at the moment.”
Coppell will stick with the same side that started against Birmingham.
Jimmy Kebe is a doubt, though, after suffering a knock in Mali’s 3-2 defeat by France ‘B’. Kalifa Cisse was also in the squad, but did not play.
Graeme Murty and Glen Little both made their comeback from injury in the reserves earlier in the week, but will not be in the squad.
Brynjar Gunnarsson is still sidelined after surgery to repair a groin injury.