Reading captain Paul McShane remains wary of wounded Norwich City

Reading captain Paul McShane, pictured on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, is prepar

Reading captain Paul McShane, pictured on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, is preparing to face Norwich City on Boxing Day. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Reading captain Paul McShane is wary of a wounded Norwich City ahead of their Championship clash on Boxing Day.

Jaap Stam's third-placed side can move 10 points clear of the toiling Canaries if they inflict an eighth league defeat in the last 10 games on Alex Neil's squad. McShane, however, is not be fooled by the visitors' woeful form.

'It's never going to be easy – this league is a battle week in, week out. And we've got to be up for it and ready for anything,' he said.

'It's always a good atmosphere on Boxing Day and we've got a little break this week where we can get ourselves together and prepare for Norwich – a good team with good players. They've had a bit of a dip in form recently, but they have the capability of hurting us, like so many teams in this division.

'We'll have loads of Christmas turkey, gravy and stuffing and be absolutely stuffed on Boxing Day. I'm joking!

'We'll have to be careful over Christmas as footballers – it's the season to be indulgent for so many but it's key that we have that discipline to not do that sort of stuff.

'We'll get ourselves ready for another tough test, and let's see what happens.'

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McShane is loving life under former Manchester United defender Staam.

'We're up there in third,' he told the Royals' official website. 'At the end of last season, who would have said we'd be third going into Christmas? So we've done well and we deserve to be up there – the lads work hard and the manager works extremely hard. He's got us set up brilliantly and the way we are playing is the correct way of playing; keeping the ball, possession, it's a joy to be part of this team. It's nice to see it paying off with results.

'We are going to make mistakes and lose the odd game here or there, but we'll keep working hard and keep doing what we're doing – and hopefully still be in a good position come the end of the season.'

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