Date:Tuesday December 19 2006
Although there were Santa hats and Christmas Carols ('The 12 Days of Phil Parkinson`) around the Madejski Stadium on Saturday all the festive cheer was blown away by Blackburn`s stunning comeback.
Blackburn earned the bragging rights say that they are one of the three teams in the Premiership to have beaten Reading at the Mad Stad, Arsenal and Chelsea being the only others.
The defeat meant that Reading have only picked up 1 point in their last three fixtures, missing out to Newcastle where the Magpies stole the points with a late goal and earning a point away to Watford in what has been dubbed the most boring game of the season.
But it is not the time to look back and wonder what could have been, not when the Christmas season has thrown up four matches in quick succession, and it is pivotal that the team look ahead to these rather then back.
Reading will host Everton this Saturday and the game could prove to be the easiest of all the matches coming up, with Chelsea and Man Utd away coming up and a visit from what seems to be a revitalised West Ham on New Years Day.
Everton come to Madejski Stadium having earned only four points in their last 5 games so will be desperate to return to winning ways but the Royals will have to make sure it doesn`t happen just yet despite the return of Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville and Leon Osman
Meanwhile playing the top two teams in the country in short succession will offer Reading two new fan bases, firstly Man Utd fans will be rooting for the Royals to cause some controversy at Stamford Bridge and just four days later Chelsea fans will be hoping just the same when Reading travel up to Old Trafford.
West Ham at home on New Years day will be a real challenge; Alan Curbishley`s side beat Man Utd and will be looking to rack up the points to lift them from the drop zone around Christmas, the Royals will have to be on top form in a time when they will be tired and weary.
Although being in a position with 26 points already on the board, Reading could afford to lose all these games and still have more then enough time to secure the 15 more points that puts them in a realistic position to stay up. But starting the New Year having gathered one point out of their last 7 wouldn`t do much for the team`s morale.
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