Coppell eyes festive fixture list

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Reading manager Steve Coppell hailed his side after they started 'a big month' with a 3-1 Coca-Cola Championship win over Coventry.

Wing-back Daniel Fox gave Coventry a deserved early lead with a terrific free-kick but a brace from Noel Hunt and a Kalifa Cisse strike saw the Royals record a vital win.

Reading are now just four points behind second-placed Birmingham and Coppell believes the remaining six fixtures in December could shape their promotion push, saying: "It's a big month for all the teams now. It's easy to take your eye off the ball with all the distractions around but it's a significant period and let's see where we are at the end of it."

The Royals won after going behind for the first time this season and Coppell was glad to see his side keep their calm.

He said: "They changed their shape which made it difficult and it was a tremendous free-kick to open the scoring.

"As soon as we have gone a goal down previously we have got really frantic and very anxious in the way we played. But we kept on trying to do what we set out to do this evening and stayed calm.

"We had some fortune with two of the goals but if you put defenders in situations where they have to make decisions then you will get that at this level."

Coventry boss Chris Coleman admitted his side lacked the mental strength to rally after Cisse put Reading ahead before the break. The Sky Blues started well but both Hunt's goals were preventable and they rarely threatened in the second period.

Coleman said: "The second and third goals were poor and you can't give good teams gifts. After that we looked sorry for ourselves and there only looked like one winner after we went behind.

"We've played well in a lot of games but we lack that mental strength to nail wins to the wall. We are missing five or six players all the time and coming to a place like Reading is very hard."

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Daniel Fox
Kalifa Cisse
Coventry City
Noel Hunt

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