JAAP Stam is calling for unity among Reading FC fans ahead of the Championship run-in.

Royals’ boss has come under fire after a string of poor results has left his side four points above the relegation zone with only one win from their last 12 league games following Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.

Stam’s future at Madejski Stadium has also split fans’ opinion, with some demanding a change at the top and others – including the club’s supporters’ trust STAR – eager to throw their weight behind the Dutchman.

But the 45-year-old boss believes it is time for supporters to join forces and back the team over the last 14 games as they look to secure their Championship status.

“We are as frustrated as the fans if not more, but we need them to be our 12th or 13th man to help push us forward,” declared Stam, whose side have not won a home league game on a Saturday since a 1-0 victory against Wigan on April 29, 2017.

“It’s not just me who needs to cry out to them (supporters) to support us, but the fans also know what they need to do.

“If the fans back us, everyone feels more comfortable in their performance on the pitch.

“But, if your own fans are booing you, shouting and calling out certain things, the players take that on board. They’re experienced professionals, but even at the absolute top level, players hear what fans say.”

A small section of Reading fans plan to voice their frustrations at Saturday’s home fixture against promotion-hopefuls Derby County (3pm ko).

Reading Chronicle:

Omar Richards celebrates his first goal for Reading during Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. Picture: Jason Dawson/jasonpix.

But Stam wants supporters to play a positive role from here on as Royals go in search of an impressive double over the Rams following their 4-2 win at Pride Park in November.

“They were there for us in good times last season and we need them now more than ever,” he said, referring to last season’s third-place finish. “I like people to be honest every time.

“We know that we need each other and if that’s not working out at the end of the day, we need to do something different.”

Reading face a daunting run ahead starting with back-to-back home games against fourth-placed Derby and play-off chasing Sheffield United next Tuesday (8pm).

Stam’s men then go to runaway leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, March 3 and must also play top-six clubs Aston Villa, Fulham and Cardiff City before the end of the season.

And Stam insists a fast start against Derby this weekend is vital.

“We know we have a lot of games in a short space of time,” he added. “Derby are a very good side which we all know but we’re at home and hopefully we can get the three points.

“We know what they can do and they know what we can do. We need to start like we did in the first half at Forest, with confidence on the ball and take any chances we create.”

Reading midfielder John Swift could make a return this Saturday after a six week lay-off with a hamstring injury.

But skipper Paul McShane, Tommy Elphick, Joseph Mendes, Callum Harriott, Stephen Quinn and Jordan Obita all remain sidelined.

On-loan Derby striker Chris Martin is also prevented from featuring against his parent club as part of his loan deal.