JOSE Gomes has set his Reading FC players the task of securing back-to-back wins for the first time in more than a year ahead of Saturday’s clash at Derby County (3pm ko).

Royals have not won successive games in the Championship since they beat Barnsley 3-0 at home on November 18, 2017 then won 3-1 at Sunderland four days later.

Gomes’ men now have another chance to end that run following last weekend’s feisty home win over Nottingham Forest.

The Portuguese boss was in an upbeat mood today as he addressed local media at Hogwood Park.

Facing Derby County, spying tactics, Frank Lampard admiration, game preparation, dressing room morale, January transfers and the latest injuries were all covered.

He also confirmed Jordan Obita has suffered yet another season-ending setback on his long journey back from a knee injury and could face a third operation.

He also insisted Royals have no intention of recalling USA striker Andrija Novakovic from his loan spell with Fortuna Sittard earlier than planned.

Here is full transcript of today’s press conference:

Training this week:

“The players are giving their best and working very well. I’m happy for them and with what they are doing.

“The spirit they show gives them strength to be confident for the future.”

On 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest:

“It was very important for everything – the table, our goals, our confidence, motivation. But we cannot let our spirit get too high, we must keep a balance.

“We have to understand this season Reading has ever won two consecutive games. We must keep our focus until the end of the season. We have 19 battles more and we are in the middle of the war and we must stay focussed.

“There have been matches we should win because of the way we play, but the important things is we won on Saturday.”

Thirteen months since back-to-back league victories:

“I looked at this detail when we studied the data and for me it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge I put in front of the players to see if they have the courage to accept this challenge.

“We must prepare every day to be better in the future. It means nothing if you say you are better but you don’t collect the points.

“We are on a good track, but we need the points and it will be a tough journey in front of us. To get the points Saturday we need the right spirit.”

Derby County knocked Southampton out of the FA Cup on penalties last night, while Royals did not have a midweek fixture.

“Players are used to playing a lot of games and in the end Derby won so they will recover quicker than if they had lost. I don’t think it’s a very important issue as Derby have a very good squad with talented players.

“They are very organised and when you see the freedom of their midfielders and the way they use space it reminds you of Frank Lampard. They are a dangerous team and we cannot give them space. It will be an interesting and tough match.”

Gomes’ approach to Saturday’s game at Pride Park:

“We must play like we have been playing. Defensively we must be organised and offensively we must show what we can do.

“I like my players to feel free on the pitch and show what they really are. But when we don’t have the ball we must defend, we cannot let the opposition play.”

Injury update:

Gomes confirmed “Sam Baldock is injured and out of the squad. Callum Harriot is back training but not ready, also Paul McShane and John O’Shea and Yakou Meite. Saeid Ezatolahi is still in the process of recovering.”

Gomes also confirmed transfer-listed Vito Mannone, Marc McNulty and David Meyler are all fit but not in contention.

Jordan Oita facing more knee surgery:

“He will wait another week then decide with the specialist if he needs another operation or not.”

When asked if he will play again this season, Gomes replied: “No.”

Potential January signings:

“Nothing yet. Even if it was close I couldn’t really say. When we are sure we can talk about players we will, otherwise it is better to not say.”

Signing a striker:

“I never mentioned a striker. I know we are working very hard to bring in the players we need. The board of directors are trying to find the best solutions within Financial Fair Play.

“I think within a couple of days we will have good news.”

Players going out on loan:

“Everything is mixed. We talk about FFP so if you are paying the salaries of 40 players you are at your limit, so it’s impossible to spend more money unless you get some out. In the right time we will let people know.”

On loan signings Ovie Ejaria and Lewis Baker:

“Lewis was training and playing, but Ovie was very tired after the last match because he hadn’t played for more than one month. Both are in good condition and they will definitely help the team.”

Reading’s record at Derby County:

“I will look at that as a good sign.”

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa yesterday confirmed they had spied on every club they have played this season following last week’s incident at Derby County’s training ground.

Gomes on his own approach to game preparation:

“Like all managers it’s normal to study your next opponents so for us it’s Derby County. We look at all the details and spend a lot of hours over preparation doing work nobody sees other than the technical staff. For us this is normal, it’s part of the week.

“What happened with Leeds United last week is not really my issue. It’s out of my duties to talk about what other managers have been doing. I actually have no time to think about what they are doing or if they are sharing information with the media.

“We are in the middle of a big war and everyone wants the maximum data to collect. In my opinion, with the tools we have today we don’t need to do these kind of things, but every club is responsible for their actions.

“I only want to focus on things I can control like training, players and preparation.”

How many games Reading watch of their next opponents:

“We watch enough games to know everything about our opponent. If you start watching games from last season, players have changed, some are injured, the coach is different, so you are losing time.

“Watching a match can take three hours so if you watch the last four to six matches you can collect all the data that you need.”

Can clubs conduct too much research?

“I don’t know, but I know that what we are doing is serious and important so we can let players know everything they need to know about the opposition and how to exploit their weak points.”

Can players be overloaded with instructions?

“Our technical staff collect all the information, and we give to the players only the information we think is important.

“For me it makes no sense to pass on all the information we collect, I just want players to know what they need to know so we can take advantage of an opponent’s weak points and protect ourselves against their strong points.

“Other managers may do differently, but that’s not my problem.”

On planning ahead:

“I am just looking at Derby, I don’t want my analyst to start showing me data about another team, I don’t like it.

“The analyst is already preparing reports to give to me, but not yet. When we finish the Derby match I want him to pass all the information about the next match to me.

“Until after Derby, I don’t want to know about Bolton or Aston Villa. Right now it’s just Derby and that is enough because we need to put all our efforts into this game.

“The brain cannot think of two things at the same time. If you starting thinking of things you don’t need for now, you are losing time and disturbing the focus.

“My focus and the players’ focus is Derby County, we cannot think of anything more.”

On recalling Andrija Novakovic:

“We are not planning to bring him back.”

Frank Lampard admiration:

“We follow the Premier League in Portugal and he played a lot of matches for Chelsea when Jose Mourinho was manager. All the news in Portugal followed it at the time and Lampard was a great player, not only for Chelsea but for the national team.

“He was a very strong midfielder, intelligent and able to defend when he needed to and help the team near the opponent’s box and create goals. He was a top midfielder and the ay you see his midfielders now you can see some movements that make you remember how Lampard played.”