VITO Mannone admits Reading FC may have to secure their Championship status the hard way.

Royals, last season's play-off finalists, are languishing four points above the relegation zone in 18th position after just one win from their last 12 games.

Jaap Stam’s men now face a daunting run ahead with clashes against runaway leaders Wolves and third-placed Derby County as well as play-off chasing Sheffield United.

But before all that Royals must prepare for a vital six-pointer on Tuesday next week at Nottingham Forest – the side immediately above them in the table.

It could be a make-or-break period for Stam’s men, but Mannone is confident results will soon pick up.

“We know we haven’t had the best of seasons but we know that we need to fight until the end to get as many points as possible,” said the Italian goalkeeper.

“We’re not happy, fans aren’t happy, no-one is happy.

“We would like to do the best we can and get as many points as possible, so we don’t have to suffer towards the end.”

He added: “We have a tough Tuesday game away from home when we get back, and then we have a few tough fixtures where we need the points.

“Regardless of who we’re playing, we need to go for the three points each game.”

Reading Chronicle:

Reading players look gutted after last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough. Picture: Jason Dawson/jasonpix.

Reading escaped the wintry conditions by flying out to Spain on Tuesday for five days of warm-weather training.

Stam took a squad of 26 first-team players plus 13 staff for a mixture of intense training and rest, including two full days of double training sessions in a behind-closed-doors environment.

The squad will fly back to England this Saturday ahead of a gruelling run of six fixtures in 18 days.

And Mannone is confident the break will do the players a power of good ahead of the final 15 games of the season.

“These five days here are giving us a chance to work a bit harder and to regroup, and to be together in the same place,” said the 29-year-old.

“It’s hard work every day, a training session in the morning and a gym session in the afternoon and some time together in the evening.

“We’ve been playing almost every three days since the beginning of the season, which doesn’t give us much chance to do the kind of sessions that we want to do.

“But this trip gives us the chance to train on good pitches and with good facilities to work hard, and we’re trying to prepare hard for the last 15 games which we know are very important.

“This is the moment to take energy in and take on a workload, which will benefit us later on.

"We’re putting petrol in the tank and we’ll be ready to go again when we’re back in England.”