Baggies boss wary of Reading side on the up at Madejski Stadium
STEVE Clarke insists his seventh-placed Albion outfit will need to be ready for a battle with a Reading side on the up tomorrow (ko 3pm).
The Royals currently lie five points adrift of 17th-placed Southampton but are unbeaten in their last two games at the Madejski Stadium following a 1-0 victory over West Ham and a 0-0 draw with Swansea on Boxing Day.
And the Baggies head coach believes his side will need to be at their very best to overcome Brian McDermott’s men in Berkshire.
“It’s a difficult place to go and whenever you go down to the Madejski it’s always difficult to get anything,” said Clarke.
“We look forward to it because we are full of confidence and we’ll be looking to play some good football.
“We respect the fact that Reading are down there fighting for their lives and we know we have to match them for effort.
“Brian’s a good man and he’s done all the hard hours and he’s done a fantastic job.
“They’re making a good fight of it in the Premier League.
“Whenever you go up against Reading or one of Brian’s teams you know they’re going to be hardworking and industrious and we know we have to go there and match that work rate.
“We then have to try and find that bit of quality to win the game for us."
He added: “They were involved in a lot of really open, exciting games but were always on the wrong end of the scoreline.
“I think Brian and his staff have looked at that and assessed it and they’ve really tightened up over the last few weeks.
“The way they play now is slightly different to how they approached games earlier in the season.
“They are showing signs of getting to grips with it.
“It will still be difficult for them but I’m sure in the second half of the season they’ll give it their best shot.”