28 December 2012 17:31

Reading manager Brian McDermott still believes he can guide his team to safety ahead of their match against West Ham United.

A battling 0-0 draw at home to Swansea City on Wednesday saw Reading avoid defeat for the first time in eight matches, but they remain second-to-last on the Premier League table, clear of the bottom on goal difference only.

On Saturday fellow promoted team West Ham United visit the Madejski Stadium, the next opportunity for McDermott to make good on his optimistic outlook.

“We have got to do whatever we have to to get results,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot about this league in 19 games. In the Championship we tried to win every single game because we wanted to entertain, but our fans want to see points and results.

“At the moment it is tough but the fans have stuck with the players and I am grateful they have stuck with me. They saw real fight and spirit from the players against Swansea.

“People talk to me about history and positions in the table, points and what have you, but it’s irrelevant. With 19 games to go this is definitely do-able for us.

“We enjoy and relish the challenge. We can do this.”

West Ham will have striker Carlton Cole available for the match after the red card he was shown against Everton was rescinded by the Football Assocation.

And manager Sam Allardyce has entered the debate on referee errors, claiming match officials are exhausted by the middle of the season.

“This is a difficult period for referees,” he said.

“Why do they always seem to make more wrong decisions now? It’s probably because they are overworked and they are fatigued.

“The system has to be looked at and in my opinion it’s because they are fatigued. Referees are travelling all over the country and out in Europe and have been since the start of the season.

“There’s not enough of them. They try their very best to get things consistently right. But it happens every year around this time of year – the controversy.

“We had a couple in our last game and there have been many throughout football over the Christmas period.

“Fatigue is everything in terms of decision making. Once it kicks in you lose the ability to make those decisions correctly.”

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