Reading manager Brian McDermott insists his side have “no fear” as they prepare for tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester City.
The Championship side will be huge underdogs as they go head-to-head with Roberto Mancini’s team of multi-million pound signings, but won at Everton in the last round and are enjoying a fine run of form in the league at the moment.
The Royals’ starting XI at Eastlands will cost less than either Carlos Tevez or Yaya Toure, but the club are unbeaten in seven games and possess a belief they can cause another upset.
McDermott led his side to the last eight last year, where they fell to Aston Villa, and he wants to go a step further this time.
He said: “You look at the players that City have got, the amount of money they have spent and the manager they have got and it’s a real privilege to go to Eastlands and play against them. But we have no fear.
“We are not fazed by the occasion and we are looking forward to it. We want to go there and get a result because that’s how you enjoy games.
“I’ve not enjoyed a defeat yet in my career so we need to go and perform at our best.
“We want to do right by our fans and put on a performance for them. We are followed in large numbers, they left Ipswich happy in midweek and they were certainly happy with coming away from Everton with a win.
“We’ll be loud at Eastlands. I know we will be backed and our fans will make themselves heard.”
The two teams enjoyed contrasting trips in midweek, with Reading picking up a 3-1 win at Ipswich while City were on the end of a 2-0 defeat at Dynamo Kiev.
Mancini’s players only arrived back from their near 3,000-mile round trip early yesterday morning, but McDermott does not believe they will be affected.
He said: “It’s never easy to go to Kiev and play in that part of the world. It is a long old journey, the pitch was difficult and it was a tough night for them all round really. They lost the two goals but they’ll be alright in the tie I’m sure.
“They certainly have the players to deal with it and it won’t affect our preparations.”
Reading captain Matt Mills is a doubt to face his old club after picking up a groin strain at Ipswich, while midfielder Mikele Leigertwood will hope to add to his club record of avoiding defeat in his first 17 appearances for the club.
City striker Mario Balotelli is be doubtful for the tie with Reading after the former Inter Milan striker suffered an allergic reaction against Dynamo.
He came off in the second half and was replaced by captain Tevez, who is expected to return to the starting line-up.
However, former Leeds United midfielder James Milner is expected to be ruled out again with a hamstring injury.