Royals bravehearts prepared for battle
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Master tactician: Brian McDermott.
HE MAY be older and wiser but Brian McDermott shows no sign of curbing his attacking instincts when it comes to preparing his teams.
And that theory will be put the test once again on Friday afternoon when the Royals host Neil Warnock's Leeds United at a capacity Madejski Stadium.
One thing you can put your mortgage on is that McDermott will not be looking for the draw. In fact, the very notion of playing for a point does not even register with the 50-year-old manager.
"They normally say the younger you are the braver you are, but it's the opposite for me," he explained. "The older I've got the braver I've become and I honestly don't have any fear.
"I don't look at consequences or possible outcomes of games, I just look at the match itself and my gut feeling is to go for it every time.
"That's been proven at Reading because we've won so many games with late goals."
Proof of the pudding came last Saturday when the Royals recovered from 1-0 down to beat West Ham 4-2 at Upton Park.
A draw would have been enough to keep Royals above the Hammers in the Championship table, but McDermott's men were still searching for more goals when 3-1 up.
"If we're losing a game 1-0 it doesn't alter anything," he added. "We won't go off tangent, we will just keep playing. I genuinely have no fear of losing a game of football. I never even talk about losing, I talk about winning and there is a big difference."
That winning mentality will come under severe scrutiny again over the closing six games of the season.
Reading also face a crunch clash at Brighton & Hove Albion next Tuesday night (7.45pm ko) but it is Friday's televised fixture which commands McDermott's full attention.
Leeds have hit an indifferent patch of form since Warnock replaced Simon Grayson recently and were beaten 7-3 by Nottingham Forest just two weeks ago.
The Royals also won 1-0 at Elland Road back in December courtesy of an early Simon Church goal and McDermott is backing his side to handle the pressure of Friday's powderkeg clash.
"Leeds United's results make no difference to me," he stated. "We have to make sure we're right and look after ourselves.
"There was a lot of talk before West Ham but all we could do is concentrate on our performance. We have to be right mentally and be strong. We've got a team that knows how to win, they know what's required."
Warnock may not be popular in these parts following his explosive bust-up with the Royals while manager of Sheffield United during the 2006/-7 Premier League season.
But McDermott has nothing but good things to say about the outspoken Yorkshireman.
"I know Neil quite well," added McDermott. "He was really good doing the deal with Kaspars Gorkss when he was QPR manager and we've spent a lot of time talking.
"He also texted me before the play-off final last season so we've spoken a number of times. I really like him. He's a winner and he#ll come to Madejski Stadium and have his team prepared.
"You always know it's going to be difficult when you play against Neil's teams, they make life difficult for you. He won the league comfortably with QPR and his record is fantastic."