READING FC boss Jaap Stam urged his players to keep their patience when they face Queens Park Rangers in today's Championship opener (3pm KO).

The Royals visit Loftus Road for the first match of the season and will take confidence from their two wins over the Rs pre-season.

Reading defied pundits and bookmakers by finishing third in the league last season and narrowly missing out on a spot in the Premier League.

And Dutchman Stam insisted the players need to focus on the task ahead if they hope to improve on last year's success.

The 45-year-old has encouraged his players to keep their cool and not try to force a result at Loftus Road.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," asserted Stam.

"Pre-season is always nice but at the end of the day it's all doing well at the start of the season.

“Last season was great, everyone around the club enjoyed it but now we need to start again.

“It's not going to be easy, there is a lot of quality in this league.

“We need to find a way to make it difficult for all the teams.

“I don't know if people are talking about us going up or finishing in the top six.

“If we can get to the same level we can grow better as a team and do better than last year.

“We don't need to look at what people are saying about us because that's not our problem.”

Stam will be boosted by the recent signing of winger Modou Barrow, who could be in line to make his Royals debut this afternoon.

Meanwhile summer signings Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Pelle Clement and Vito Mannone are also expected to feature in the 'hoops derby'.

And Stam is hoping for a high-octane match at Loftus Road.

"The atmosphere, the stadium, the fans, the pressure of winning the game and winning three points is there," he said.

"In all that, you need to stay cool and patient in what you want to achieve and that’s what we’re going to be doing.

"They know us as well – how we want to play, what we want to do and the players we have. The same counts for us.

"As a manager, you’re always trying to find a way to make it difficult for them. That’s what they’ll be doing against us.

Reading will be without captain Paul McShane (suspension), Garath McCleary, Stephen Quinn and Callum Harriott.

  • Kick-off is at 3pm and the Chronicle will bring you live updates, exclusive interviews after the game and a picture gallery with all the action.