Football - No grim reading for Dolan

Reading caretaker manager Eamonn Dolan has warned his players they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves if they want to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

PA Sport

The Royals have become the bookies' favourite for the drop following an emotional week in which boss Brian McDermott and his assistant Nigel Gibbs left the club.

The Reading players were left shocked by the news, with Dolan revealing morale had initially been "floored", as owner Anton Zingarevich sought to turn the club's fortunes around.

It hardly gets any easier for them either with a horror fixture list sending them to champions-in-waiting Manchester United, before a trip to Arsenal immediately after the international break.

Even if the new manager is installed before then no Premier League club has survived the drop when replacing their boss in March.

It is grim reading for the fans at the Madejski Stadium but Dolan is determined to keep spirits high.

"I've asked for focus. We've got a Premier League to stay in and that's our goal now," he said.

"There are nine games to go to stay up. We have a realistic target to stay in this league. To do that we need to climb two places in nearly a quarter of the season.

"We have to be clear about what we want to do. I am positive we can stay up - 100 per cent positive.

"The players were floored at the start of the week but they realise the importance for the club. We need to be in the Barclays Premier League next year. It is in everyone's interests from the owner, the board, the players, and Brian and Nigel to stay in the Premier League. If we do that then they'll get even more credit."

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