STEVE Clarke believes Reading's problems between the sticks this season may be as a result of mental weakness.

The Reading boss brought Ali Al-Habsi and Jonathan Bond to the club in the summer but neither have inspired confidence as an adequate replacement for Adam Federici.

Goals have been conceded against Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and Everton due to goalkeeping mistakes since the start of the campaign.

Reading have actually conceded the least amount of shots in the Championship this year and Clarke questioned whether his keepers may need to improve their concentration.

“It's something that the keepers maybe have to learn,” he said. “If you put on a shooting session in training then they're being tested every three seconds and they're flying saving shot after shot.

“It's the same in matches. If you're under pressure and conceding a lot of shots then your keeper gets his eye in as he's having to make 10 or 12 saves a game.

“It's a different scenario for our goalkeepers this year as they're not getting much to do. So it could be more of a mental aspect than a technical aspect, we have to look at the concentration.

“Maybe it's something we need to work on as if we're not going to concede many shots then they're going to have to be ready to save the ones that we do.”

Clarke drew on previous experiences at Chelsea – in the shape of Petr Cech – and revealed how it was something that the Czech Republic international had to learn at an early stage of his career.

He added: “I worked at Chelsea when Petr came in as a young goalkeeper and I remember Jose [Mourinho] and the goalkeeping coach talking about concentration and how it would need to improve for him to make the key saves in the game.

“He was only having to make two saves a game but I remember them talking about the need for him to make those saves and for a team like Chelsea that was important towards winning trophies.

“We're happy with the goalkeepers we've got and we'll continue to work with them to make them even better.”