Reading FC plotting to end Saints' march
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Reading FC manager Brian McDermott.
BRIAN McDermott is desperate to kick-start Reading's home form - and derail Southampton's promotion charge in the process.
Royals have won only one of their six home games this season, which came in a 2-0 victory against Doncaster Rovers five weeks ago.
And on Saturday they will face their toughest test of the season yet at Madejski Stadium when Championship leaders Southampton come to town for a mouthwatering televised clash (5.20pm ko, live Sky Sports).
While Royals twice came from behind on Tuesday night to draw with Derby County at home, Nigel Adkins' Saints saw off West Ham 1-0 at St Mary's to go five points clear at the top of the table.
Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, McDermott said: "It's a great game for us now. Our stadium will be nearly full house and it's got the feel of a local derby about it.
"Southampton have started the season very, very well and Nigel Adkins has done a fantastic job both this season and last season when they won promotion.
"Maybe they're one of the favourites to get back into the Premier League now with the start they've had. They deserve a lot of credit for what they've done but we want three points on Saturday.
"I've watched them a lot and we'll try and come up with a way of beating them, which won't be easy."
And far from being concerned by Reading's record at home this season which has included defeats by Watford and Barnsley, McDermott insisted: "The last six home games are irrelevant now. They're gone, we can't do anything about them.
"All that matters to us is Saturday. We know that if we put in a performance like I know we can everything will fall into place."
Despite Reading's indifferent home form, they are unbeaten in six league games going into Saturday's game.
Saints, on the other hand, are unbeaten in three but they have lost twice on the road already, including a 2-1 reverse at Cardiff City the end of last month.
But Reading's form is a massive improvement on the early part of the season when they stumbled to five defeats in a row and were in the bottom three.
"Everyone can see we're evolving," added McDermott. "The teams is moving on, I can feel that.
"We had a spell of losing games but hopefully were back on track.
"We've worked extremely hard to get here and our quality is getting better all the time. Yes, we can still improve but we've got to be pleased.
"We're unbeaten in six games and taken 12 points from that which is good. It's important the group sticks together now because we need a strong group of players. We've got very good players who aren't even in our squad at the moment."
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 20 Oct 11