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Football League

Reading warn of complacency with top spot in reach


Reading's Turkish midfielder Jem Karacan has warned his in-form side to take nothing for granted as the Royals go hunting for top spot in the npower Championship tonight.

Victory over visitors Peterborough would see Brian McDermott's side leapfrog leaders Southampton if Saints are beaten at Hull.

Reading, 4-0 winners at Barnsley at the weekend, have nine wins in their last 10 games but Karacan warned: "It's massive here - it's great to be a part of it. But we've done nothing yet, we've got nine games left to go."

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins admits there is a tough match in prospect at seventh-placed Hull with the Tigers wanting to boost their own promotion hopes.

Adkins said: "They don't concede many goals. Defensively they're organised and in their set-up, whilst they've got goals in the team as well.

"We're under no illusions as to the task in hand, but we had a fantastic spell after half-time in the game at our place where we blitzed it and won the game, so we need more of the same."

Sam Allardyce admits West Ham need to end their winless streak at Upton Park if his side are to have any hope of regaining an automatic promotion spot this season.

The Hammers, in third place, take on Middlesbrough tonight - with the Teessiders also in the play-off positions.

West Ham have not lost at home since early December but their last four home matches have ended in draws. Allardyce said: "Hopefully we can keep the unbeaten run going and start turning the draws into wins.

"We need to help the team across the finishing line. If we are playing badly then I don't expect to be let off the hook but we aren't playing badly, we just aren't winning."

Boro lost badly at Birmingham at the weekend and manager Tony Mowbray is hoping they can take advantage of the Hammers' struggles at home.

He said: "The loss of concentration needs to improve and the players know that. Let's hope we can find the answers at West Ham. They've had a relatively difficult time at home, let's hope we can make that continue for them."

At the bottom of the table, struggling Portsmouth face Birmingham, currently in fourth place and on a good run, while second-from-bottom Doncaster desperately need a victory at home to Millwall to keep in touch with Bristol City, who are just outside the relegation places and who host Watford.

Nottingham Forest could do with a positive result at Leeds to ease their own relegation fears.

Brighton's hopes of breaking into the play-offs would be boosted if they can overcome Derby at home, while Crystal Palace take on Barnsley in a mid-table clash.