Royals to remain unchanged

First published in Premier League

Reading boss Brian McDermott is likely to resist the temptation to tinker with his team for the Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham tomorrow.

The Royals have collected four points from their last two matches as they look to defy the odds and secure another season of top-flight football.

Despite the congested festive fixtures, McDermott named an unchanged side for the last two games, a goalless draw against Swansea and a vital 1-0 success at home to West Ham to close the gap on third bottom Saints to four points, and will not be frightened to stick with the same XI at White Hart Lane.

He said: "We are used to playing so many games from the Championship so it isn't really relevant to me. They love playing so we are getting results and sticking with the team, that is how I do it.

"At the moment we want to pick up points, that's what makes people happy around here."

Spurs are on a good run of form, losing only one of their last eight matches.

Winger Gareth Bale has been in scintillating form, but will miss tomorrow's clash after picking up a fifth caution of the season in Saturday's 2-1 win at Sunderland for simulation.

But McDermott is not expecting an easier game with the Wales international absent.

"Gareth Bale is a top, top player, but they are not a one-man team, they have got players all over the shop now, terrific players," he said.

"I really like the manager (Andre Villas-Boas), he is a friend of mine. They have got one of our old players in Gylfi Sigurdsson, who we had here since he was 14, a top lad and a top player so we know what we are coming up against."

Reading struggled at the start of the season following their Championship title success last year and were completely outplayed when Spurs won 3-1 at the Madejski Stadium back in September.

McDermott believes his side have acclimatised to the league since then and wants a better display in the return clash.

"I obviously didn't learn too much because that was earlier in the season but we are learning now," he said.

"They played well that day and we didn't really compete the way we need to compete, but that was a long time ago and we need to make sure we go to White Hart Lane, get it right and see what the outcome will be."

McDermott was backed in the transfer market at the start of the campaign by the club's Russian owner Anton Zingarevich and is expecting more business during the January transfer window.

He said: "We will be definitely doing something.

"We will do what we can with the budget we have got. We had a certain budget in the summer and we used it and we will see what we do in January."

Big-name players such as Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin have been linked with a move to the Berkshire club, but it is work ethic and not reputation that interests McDermott.

"The most important thing is that if we are going to bring players in they fit into the group and the ethos and spirit we have here," he said. "That is what bothers me, that is what concerns me. Money-wise who knows how much we will have?"

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