Mills and Reading desperate to prove a point with FA Cup run

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The Independent Football

Reading captain Matt Mills feels the Championship side are owed something by the FA Cup competition this year.

The Royals have again exceeded expectations by following up last year's quarter-final appearance with another run to the last eight thanks to Tuesday night's 1-0 win at Everton.

Central defender Mills was the match-winner as Reading stunned the Premier League side in their fifth-round tie at Goodison Park. Reading are now just one game short of Wembley for the semi-finals and Mills is desperate to make amends after they surrendered a 2-0 lead to crash out to Aston Villa at the same stage last year.

The 24-year-old captain said: "We made it our mission at the end of the Villa game. The boys were obviously disappointed and we set a challenge to go one further this year. We are on course, although we've obviously got a tough one next, but we want to go to Wembley."

In fact Brian McDermott's side are hoping to travel to the national stadium more than once this season. At present an FA Cup final appearance might seem fanciful but Reading are certainly not out of the Championship play-off picture. The Berkshire club, relegated from the Premier League in 2008, are currently 10th in the table, six points behind the sixth-placed Leeds with 12 games remaining.

Mills, a former Manchester City player, said: "The boys have been talking about how negative the press have been recently. We are not maybe doing as well as people think we should be in the league, but at the end of the day we are in a great position and we are still in the Cup.

"Hopefully this will turn some people's heads and start getting us some good marks in the papers, and we'll slowly start winning games. The boys went out there last night wanting to prove a point and we've done that."

Mills put Reading on course for victory when he controlled a Leon Osman clearance on his chest and blasted home after 26 minutes of a tight tie. Jimmy Kébé spurned a great chance to add a second moments later and so it needed a stunning late save by the second-choice goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from Osman to preserve the lead.

Mills's career highlights so far include victory over Liverpool during last season's Cup run and a League One play-off final win during a spell with Doncaster. He said: "Beating Liverpool was pretty special and winning at Wembley was an awesome feeling, but to get a goal in a winning game is probably something I won't do too many times in my career."

Reading face the winners of last night's tie between Manchester City and Villa for a place in the last four.