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‘It’s actually unfair’ – Reading boss Paul Ince slams the EFL during press conference

Reading boss Paul Ince slams the EFL in a pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s Championship game away to Millwall.

The former footballer called the fixture list “unfair”, having played six games within two weeks.

Due to a winter World Cup in Qatar coming up in November and December, more fixtures have been fitted in ahead of schedule – with most Saturday’s and midweek’s now taken up with matches.

However, like so many clubs right now, injuries continue to play havoc with the squad, but Reading also have EFL embargoes and FFP constraints.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Low

Paul Ince said, as per Reading Chronicle: “It’s tough, we’ve got such a small squad at the moment. It’s six games in two weeks, it’s actually unfair. The EFL have crammed in so many games, probably because of the World Cup. It’s the same for every team in the Championship, but some have a squad of 25. But for us we’re relying on more or less the same players.”

Despite the problems they face, relegation favourites Reading find themselves in 3rd place, picking up nine points in their first five matches.

Speaking on the trip to Millwall, they are then to endure a longer trip to Yorkshire where they will face Sheffield United on Tuesday, Ince added: “Maybe not so much at home now we have a bit of a fortress going on, some momentum, but every game we play away we can’t be afraid. We can’t be afraid of Millwall and we can’t be afraid of Sheffield United. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and take it game by game.”

“I expect Millwall and Sheffield United to be up there in the play-off places, but we don’t fear anybody. 

“Just go and play football, be competitive and see where it takes you. We’ve got to enjoy it, keep going because every team will have a bad patch. But while we are doing ok we need to keep the momentum going. 

“We haven’t won away yet this season so it would be nice to pick up something. The Blackpool game we should have got something out of it, especially the second half, it’s two games where we can try and pick something up.”

Reading have won all three of their home matches, including back-to-back clean sheets, something Ince doesn’t think his team get enough credit for.

“We don’t get any credit for it,” he bemoaned. “There wasn’t anything about Reading playing really well, getting their tactics right and pressing. We never get any credit as a football club if we do well. If you beat the big teams, it’s because they were crap not because we were good. It doesn’t bother me, but it annoys me sometimes. They were happy when we got beat by Rotherham 4-0 that Reading were diabolical but when we beat Blackburn ‘oh they were terrible’. The lads know that and that’s why we have this siege mentality, every game is going to be a challenge.”

Meanwhile, Millwall boss Gary Rowett has given his verdict on Reading ahead of the game.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s quite easy to assess Reading,” Rowett told NewsAtDen.

“They’ve got a distinct style, they’ve been 5-3-2, they’ve not given much away in their games, they’ve sat a little bit deeper than some of the other teams. But we’ve played against that lots ourselves and we’ve played that way lots ourselves.

“There’s different ways to skin a cat, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do that against us. They might see something against us that they think they can exploit and do something different. What I would say is that we’re probably going to need to be patient at times, we might need the fans to be a little bit patient at times as well, because they want to come away from home and make it very difficult for us.

“I thought they were excellent at it in the games that they’ve played, and it’s about results, most managers will say the same. You want the team to perform fantastically well, but do I look at the Coventry game and say ‘I’d have taken us playing a little bit better in the first 20 minutes and maybe drawn?’ Of course not, you don’t care. We won the game, you’ve got to find that solution sometimes.

“But of course, overall there’s a distinct way that you want to play. Reading have shown that early on, they’ve been very consistent in what they’ve done and they’ve had players leave. Maybe they’ve had to adjust a little bit of what they want to do, but they’re sat here having won three of their home games, so fair play to them. They’ll be a difficult proposition for anyone to face.”


Sat 30 Jul – A – Blackpool – Championship (0) 0 – 1 (1) 
Sat 6 Aug – H – Cardiff City – Championship (1) 2 – 1 (1)
Tue 9 Aug – H – Stevenage – Carabao Cup First Round (0) 1 – 2 (1) 
Sat 13 Aug – A – Rotherham United – Championship (0) 0 – 4 (4) 
Wed 17 Aug – H – Blackburn Rovers – Championship (1) 3 – 0 (0)
Sat 20 Aug – H – Middlesbrough – Championship (1) 1 – 0 (0)
Sat 27 Aug – A – Millwall – Championship – 3pm
Tue 30 Aug – A – Sheffield United – Championship – 7.45pm
Sun 4 Sep – H – Stoke City – Championship – 12pm
Sat 10 Sep – A – Watford – Championship – 3pm
Wed 14 Sep – H – Sunderland – Championship – 8pm
Sat 17 Sep – A – Wigan Athletic – Championship – 3pm
Sat 1 Oct – H – Huddersfield Town – Championship – 3pm
Tue 4 Oct – H – Norwich City – Championship – 8pm
Sat 8 Oct – A – Queens Park Rangers – Championship – 3pm
Sat 15 Oct – H – West Bromwich Albion – Championship – 3pm
Tue 18 Oct – A – Swansea City – Championship – 7.45pm
Sat 22 Oct – H – Bristol City – Championship – 3pm
Sat 29 Oct – A – Burnley – Championship – 3pm
Tue 1 Nov – A – Luton Town – Championship – 7.45pm
Sat 5 Nov – H – Preston North End – Championship – 3pm
Sat 12 Nov – A – Hull City – Championship – 3pm

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