EMILIANO Martinez believes Reading FC can push for the Skybet Championship play-offs next season, writes Richard Ashton.

The Spanish shot-stopper has proved one of several key loan signings brought in by manager Jose Gomes in January, and Royals were mathematically made safe on Saturday despite losing 2-1 at Middlesbrough.

But despite a second consecutive season where they have featured in the lower reaches of the table, Martinez believes a dramatic turnaround could be on the cards under Gomes.

He said: "I'm sure under him, Reading will be fighting to get in the play-offs.

"He's a great manager. I didn't know him before I came other than seeing he'd had a great season with Rio Ave, but he's a good person who cares about everybody – and not everyone does that.

"One reason is Jose and the staff around him, and the other is the players.

"If Reading keep the players and make them permanent, and then add a couple more signings, the whole mood in the club would gain confidence.

"That's what you need in this league – you don't need top quality, you just need consistency and to be prepared to fight in every game."

Reflecting on his four-month stint at Madejski Stadium – in which he has become a firm fans favourite – the Arsenal loanee added: "I think we've done really well. The club, the fans, the players, everyone's played a part.

"When I signed here, it could have gone one of two ways.

"Either I'd play really well and help keep Reading up like I did with Rotherham, or we'd go down to League One and I wouldn't feel good about myself.

"To stay up is a great achievement."

Having reached safety, Royals end their campaign at home to Birmingham City on Sunday, and boss Gomes is looking forward to it.

"I told you in the beginning we would achieve our target. I didn't know exactly when, but the way the players worked and accepted my ideas, I knew it was only a question of time.

He said: "We have achieved what we wanted and we deserve it. And we have the last game on Sunday which hopefully can be a beautiful party ending with a good result for us."