JAAP Stam appealed to Reading FC stayaway fans to get behind the team against Leeds United this Saturday (3pm ko).

Attendances at Madejski Stadium have fallen dramatically with just 8,631 turning up for Tuesday night’s vital six-pointer against Bolton.

A week earlier just 6,789 supporters watched Royals crash 3-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers.

Under-pressure Stam, whose side sit 18th in the table and with one win in the last 15 matches, said: "We always want a big crowd, everybody wants that including the players, but it's not up to me to say why people aren't coming or turning up.

"For the whole squad it's better when everyone in the crowd is supporting the team. It doesn't matter what position you are in, it's better to have the fans backing you."

Paul Heckinbottom’s mid-table Leeds will pack out the away with around 3,000 supporters set to make the trip to Berkshire.

Stam, whose side triumphed 1-0 at Elland Road in October, added: "They always bring a lot of fans and make a lot of noise. We saw it at their place and over here last season.

“That's how it is and hopefully our fans can make more than theirs. We'll see what happens on Saturday."

Tuesday night's 1-1 home draw with Phil Parkinson's fellow strugglers, Bolton, saw both clubs increase their lead over the relegation zone to five points.

But Stam's men have not won at home on a Saturday since April 2017 and they will need to show a big improvement this weekend to topple mid-table Leeds.

Royals' boss also has to contend with a growing injury list after Garath McCleary was this week ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

Omar Richards, Yann Kermorgant, Paul McShane, Jordan Obita and Stephen Quinn are also sidelined.

Fit-again Callum Harriott and Joseph Mendes both played for the Under 23s this week but are not yet in contention for the first team.

However, Leandro Bacuna could return after missing the Bolton game with a slight knock.

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