Blues' DVD shocker was an eye-opener

BLUES skipper Gareth McAuley has revealed how a video nasty has shown the players the way ahead.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

BLUES skipper Gareth McAuley has revealed how a video nasty has shown the players the way ahead.

The suspended McAuley was in the stands at Molineux for the goalless draw at Wolves on Tuesday but saw first hand the difference behind that display and compared to the 3-0 loss the week before.

“It was frustrating watching but I was delighted with the way the lads played. The application was first class they worked really hard and got tight and restricted a good side from getting forward.

“I watched the Southampton DVD and watched Wolves live and it was totally contrasting performances. At Wolves we closed people down, got in their faces and didn't allow the time, basically we did everything we should have done against Southampton.

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“We expect that as a given in every game now because we realise we have to do it in every game to give us a chance.”

McAuley is expected to reclaim his place at centre half for the game at reading tomorrow but is not taking it for granted.

He admitted: “It will be hard for me to get back in. The boys did and excellent job at Wolves, defended doggedly, and kept a clean sheet.

“I'm happy with that and it may be I have to wait to get back in the side but I can accept that after the performance the lads put in.”

That doesn't mean he is not itching to start though.

He said: “I'm dying to play. Sitting watching football when you are suspended is a nightmare, it really is a punishment.

“When you are injured you know you can't play but when you are suspended it is hard to take, especially because my booking at Preston was very soft.”

While Town are looking to be just as tight against Steve Coppell's Royals, McAuley also feels they can spring a surprise.

He said: “Every game is different and there are going to be games when you have to fly at teams and others when you have to frustrate teams as we did at wolves.

“Teams have done that to us here and at Wolves you could see the longer we frustrated them the more the crowd got agitated and then they started making bad passes and we were able to break on tem and in the end were unlucky not to snatch one ourselves.

“Reading have a different style where they like to flick a lot on and get the big men to chase down the channels. We will have to keep it tight, frustrate them and maybe we can catch them on the break or someone can find that bit of magic.”

Doing well at the Madejski Stadium will also have appositive effect ahead of the home game with Burnley who occupy sixth place, seven points ahead of Town.

McAuley said: “If we get a result at Reading the supporters will turn up against Burnley and get behind us.

“That home game is going to be tough as they are doing every well at the moment. Then again none of these games are easy now but we are due a massive performance in front of our home supporters.

“That would mean more to us than even getting a point away.”

Tenth-placed Town are also six points away from Preston who are in ninth and McAuley knows they have to beat the likes of Reading and Burnley to stay in touch.

He said: “The only way we can close the gap is to pick up points from the team above and around us. Everyone has to give their all and hopefully other teams will drop points and we can pick up points.

“They are all stuttering. When one loses they all lose but Wolves have stayed on top with a gap and I fancy it will be them and Birmingham to go up automatically and we can help both out by getting the points at Reading. It is not about helping them though it is about getting the points for ourselves and setting up the home game next Tuesday.”

Town will be without Jon Walters who has ruptured ligaments and is out for the rest of the season while Moritz Volz needs an operation on a groin problem and is out for a month.

Reading: Hahnemann, Federici, Rosenior, Duberry, Pearce, Bikey, Kebe, Armstrong, Little, Harper, Cisse, N Hunt, S Hunt, Matejovsky, Tabb, Kitson, Long, Doyle.

Ipswich Town: R Wright, Bruce, Thatcher, D Wright, Peters, McAuley, Balkestein, Campo, Shumulikoski, Miller, Quinn, Garvan, Norris, Civelli, Haynes, Lisbie, Stead, Counago.