Brighton manager Gus Poyet claims Reading are the best team in the Championship


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The Independent Football

Brighton manager Gus Poyet has described opponents Reading as the best team in the npower Championship ahead of tonight's clash.

Brighton started the season well but have fallen away of late and now sit on the periphery of the play-off places.

However, manager Poyet is looking forward to facing a strong Reading outfit.

He told the club's official website: "We have a chance to test ourselves against the best team (in the Championship) and it will be good to see how the players perform against them.

"I hope that (the Reading match) shows that we want to compete at the same level as these teams for the next few years."

Poyet also praised Reading manager Brian McDermott's dealings in the January transfer window - a part of the game the Uruguayan believes is becoming more and more crucial to success.

"Reading were there or thereabouts and you knew something could happen, but then in January they made a massive impact, especially with the signing of Jason Roberts," he said.

"It looks like Brian knew exactly what was needed because the rest of the team was performing well, there was just something that was missing.

"He has got that now so credit to him as manager. Recruitment nowadays is probably the most important part of football and he has done a fantastic job for Reading."

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici is keeping his focus on the Brighton fixture rather than counting down games to the end of the season as the Royals sit in second and the final automatic promotion spot.

He said: "People are saying about how many wins we need, but we'll focus only on Tuesday night.

"I've lost track of the days to be honest, with so many games.

"I'm always at the training ground every day anyway it seems - I'm going to have to set my bed up there I think."

There is also a big fixture towards the bottom of the table as Portsmouth host Millwall hoping their late derby day dramatics against Southampton can give them the momentum to mount a late survival challenge.

Pompey were 2-1 down at St. Mary's before David Norris struck in the final minute to earn what could prove to be a pivotal point for Michael Appleton's side.

But former Ipswich midfielder Norris told he is not going to be dwelling on the moment.

"We hope the Southampton game can be a turning point," he said.

"We didn't overdo our celebrations because we've now got a big game against Millwall.

"If we had a whole week before games then we might have enjoyed it a bit more, but now we've got to look to build."

Portsmouth are now nine points from safety but their turbulent season - which saw them deducted 10 points for re-entering administration - could still be saved with a little consistency, according to Norris.

He said "That's what we haven't been able to do this season and it's the reason why we're still in trouble."

Millwall sit 20th in the table but are only five points clear of the relegation places, and will be looking to pull further clear of the bottom three with a victory over Appleton's side.