Reading midfielder Hope Akpan looking forward to facing former club Everton

Akpan, 21, joined the Toffees as an eight-year-old

Reading midfielder Hope Akpan is keen to treat tomorrow's Barclays Premier League meeting with Everton just like any other fixture but admits he will get a buzz from facing his old club.

Akpan, 21, joined the Toffees as an eight-year-old and remained at Goodison Park until a move to Crawley in 2011.

He then penned a deal with Reading in the recent January transfer window and will go back to face his boyhood club this weekend.

"Going back to where I started my career from a young age is going to be exciting, definitely, but I'm a Reading player now and I want to do well for Reading," he said.

"At the end of the day it is just another game so I've got to go out with the same mentality as I do every time I play.

"It is a massive game for Reading Football Club because, in the position we are, we need to get out of there and we need the points more than anything so I will put everything to one side and concentrate on getting a result for Reading."

Reading lost 3-0 at home to fellow strugglers Wigan last weekend to fall back into the relegation places in the Premier League.

But Akpan claims the players are not letting the defeat play on their minds and believes a positive result at Everton is achievable.

"After a result like we had on Saturday I think we just need to let it go," he said.

"It was a bad day for the players and the club, we've moved on now and are ready for the game on Saturday.

"Every game you go into you have to believe that you can get the points from the game. Everton are a strong team throughout the entire squad but we have to make sure we implement ourselves on them."

Brian McDermott's Reading side picked up their first win of the season against Everton in November and a decent run of form after Christmas saw the Berkshire club push towards top-flight safety.

The loss to Wigan has pulled Reading right back into the relegation battle but Akpan is enjoying playing under McDermott and is targeting a result on Saturday before a clash at home to Aston Villa the following week.

"We built a good momentum a couple of weeks back and got some good results back-to-back," he said.

"That is the way to pick up points so hopefully we can get a result here and then go into the Villa game.

"He is a great guy, the gaffer. He gets his point across well and the things he has told me to do I have tried to implement them in the games so it has been really good."

Akpan never played in a league game during his time at Everton, with a late substitute appearance in a Europa League clash with BATE Borisov his only first-team chance.

He is happy with the way his top-flight career has started since moving from npower League One side Crawley.

"There are a lot of differences. I'd like to think I've done well in making the step up," he said.

"The Premier League is the best league and has the best players but it is a totally different style of football to the lower leagues and in some ways it is easier to adjust to that, but I'm taking nothing for granted and working hard to be the best I can.

"I came in with the mentality that I was going to do the best I can every day in training and prove that I am a good player and hopefully when I get thrown in I will take my chance and so far, so good really."

PA

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