Norwich City-Reading Preview
LONDON (SE) - Reading will be looking for their first win of the Premier League season when they welcome Norwich City to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Royals are in the bottom three having yet to taste victory in their nine games and manager Brian McDermott knows that the key for his side is to stop conceding so many goals.
"Obviously every team would like to keep clean sheets and we are no different," said McDermott in his Thursday afternoon press conference. "Last year we kept a load of clean sheets so that is something we really need to be working on. This is the Barclays Premier League, you don't expect to go 1-0 up and everybody to go 'oh ok the game's over' it isn't like that.
"It isn't necessarily concentration (that is the problem), I've been through situations; when I first took the job we were drawing an awful lot of games and couldn't win. I've been through situations where we couldn't score a goal in the first-half, 18 games I think last season where we couldn't score in the first half. I've been in situations where we have conceded late goals and we have always addressed it. We have always tried to address things and it is the same now, once we get in front we want to address that situation - once we get in front we want to keep a clean sheet and win the game and that is another challenge."
Norwich have picked up seven points from their last three league games and knocked Tottenham out of the League Cup and manager Chris Hughton sees the run of positive results as his players getting the reward that their performances have deserved this season.
"We have to fight and earn our points and we have started to do that," said Hughton. "It has been a tough couple of weeks. It feels like we are a lot longer into the season than we are, but we know where we are as a football club.
"We know how tough and demanding it is going to be and any three points we can pick up is a valuable three points. It's nice to have the wins. We know we are going to have plenty of losses but it is just so important to get the points. The real frustrating part for me was not the opening game, when we didn't get the result, it was not getting what we deserved after that."
Reading have doubts over Alex McCarthy and Danny Guthrie, while Jem Karacan is out. Michael Turner and Javier Garrido are doubtful for Norwich, while Russell Martin and Harry Kane are close to comebacks.
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between Reading and Norwich in the top flight of English football - but the 68th meeting in total. Reading have yet to win in the Premier League this season, with only QPR having a longer run with victory.
However, the Royals have picked up five draws from their nine games and no team has prevented them from scoring at the Madejski this season. The problem for McDermott has been the defence, with Reading conceding nine goals in just four home league matches this season. Only Southampton have conceded more.
Norwich are without a win away from home since the start of the league campaign and have mustered just three goals in five games on the road - the worst record in the division. The Canaries haven't kept a clean sheet in 38 straight top-flight games - a run that stretched back to 2004.