Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is expecting two different footballing philosophies to clash at Deepdale this weekend.
Whilst North End’s high-intensity pressing style is in stark contrast to that of the Royals, however, as the past as shown in the likes of the Play-Off Final and earlier this season against another possession side in Huddersfield Town, no less effective.
The PNE boss spoke ahead of the visit of the Berkshire side and was looking forward to the challenge of facing the former Manchester United defender and his team.
“We always knew that this was going to be a big week – two away games against two big teams in Fulham and Derby and then finishing it off with a team that are up in the Play-Offs and have been there most of the season in Reading,” said Simon.
“They are another team who likes to dominate the ball. You look at the game and the statistics from their game against Newcastle on Tuesday night and they had 70 per cent possession against the top of the division; which proves how they want to play.
“It is all about what happens in both boxes – ruthless defending and can you take your chances when they come along.
“Everyone has different styles of play. Reading is one where it is possession based and they will wait and probe, make a lot of passes, go back to the goalkeeper and play from the back. We are slightly different from that, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t as good as them.”
Stam has impressed in his first managerial role in English football and the North End gaffer feels he has worked hard for the opportunity: “I think the good thing about the way Jaap Stam has done it, is that he went to Holland and came through the ranks and did it the way a lot of foreign coaches do,” he continued.
“He learnt his trade in the grassroots and then got his opportunity in the Championship in the summer and has taken it – Reading have been a very good team. Going back to their midweek game; if you have 70 per cent possession against Newcastle, then you must be doing something right.
“We will respect everything they do; they have some good players and spent some money in the transfer window as well, bringing in the likes of Grabban and Mutch, but ultimately we will go out with our very good home record and try and put our foot on the gas and get another three points.”
With the third tough game in the space of seven days the manager has the option of juggling his players and will take all factors into consideration before naming his team to face the side they last met on the opening day of the season.
“We can make changes if we want. I thought Andy Boyle came into the team and did ever so well. Daryl Horgan, Simon Makienok and DJ all came on and affected the game, so we have options.
“It has been a tough week; three games in a week for some players and we will analyse what we need to do and whether we need to change things before we make any decisions.
“We have ten games to go and we will aim to win as many of those as we can and see where that takes us,” he added.