JAAP STAM has called on the fans to be the 12th man as Reading prepare for a huge week at Madejski Stadium.
Back-to-back defeats have seen the Royals slip to fifth in the Championship table with focus now firmly on trying to secure a place in the play-offs with the gap 11 points to the top two.
But with a healthy seven-point advantage over Fulham in seventh, Reading remain in a good position heading into the final 12 games, starting with back-to-back home matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday and Newcastle United on Tuesday.
And Stam is urging the supporters to stick with the team, even if things are not going right on the pitch.
“The fans are very important to us,” said the Royals boss.
“The fans need to be there to support their team in every situation during the game.
“If a team sometimes gets a couple of bad results, you need the fans to help them out.
“In every occasion, if you’re ahead you need them to give them an extra boost and a cheer to the players as well.
“The players are working hard every time to do well for the fans, not only to win games but also give them a nice game to watch.”
He continued: “And when you’re down and things are not working out then you need the fans even more because they need to help you out and give you that extra push to maybe get a bit more confidence to do well.
“In every occasion, they are very important for every team.”
While Wolves arrive at the Mad Stad in 20th place, they did comfortably beat the Royals 2-0 in the reverse fixture in August and recently dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup at Anfield.
But Stam says his side need to pick up the points now to avoid a nervy end to the season.
“It’s not going to be easy because they need points as well,” said the Dutchman.
“They have a good team, good squad and they’ve got a lot of quality so we need to be very sharp to do well and focussed in everything we do.
“There’s still a lot of points to play for but it makes it easier to already get those points and then maybe afterwards you can maybe skip a game or lose a couple of points here or there.
“You don’t want to be going into the end of the season having that pressure every time of needing to win.
“It’s better to win from the start and that’s how we’ve looked throughout the whole season and approached every game.
“We want to stay up there so basically we need a win.”