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Stoke City-Reading Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Reading manager Brian McDermott has revealed that he is hoping to take inspiration from Stoke City's Premier League success ahead of the two club's meeting at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
The Royals went on a sensational run in the second half of last season to win the Championship and gain a return to the Premier League, and McDermott told reporters on Thursday that he has discussed with the owner of the club about following Stoke's model for Premier League survival.
"When I first met Anton (Zingarevich), we spoke about Tony Pulis and we spoke about Stoke and that model and how well they've done," admitted the high-rated manager. "Not only have they survived, but they've got to an FA Cup final, they've played in Europe, they've brought in some really big players over the years. So, it's a really good model for us to follow."
Zingarevich's takeover of the Berkshire club raised concerns that he could be another unstable foreign owner, but McDermott insists that the Russian does not have unrealistic expectations.
"He's not set any targets and I wouldn't expect him to. He didn't set a target of promotion last season. He thought when I first met him it might be another season, so maybe we're in front of the game as far as he's concerned.
"He has an involvement with everything around the club. He wants the club to go forward, so he has an involvement. That's a good thing.
"The players that we've identified, we've got in. Whatever the money situation, we've said, 'This is what it's going to cost', and we've done it. We don't think we've spent vast amounts but we think we've signed the right players."
Stoke City's league performance last season fell short of the previous high standards, but with a strong squad and no distraction of European football this time out, hopes are high for a strong showing.
"The top ten has got be our aim, we've been so close these past few seasons," said midfielder Dean Whitehead. "It would be great to do that, but we've got to focus on Reading and the games afterwards. It's a tough League, but we've got to make sure we go there and get a result because you want to get off to a good start.
"It's going to be a long, hard season because every team is improving and we've got to make sure that we improve too. We've done the running, we've done the pre-season games so it's now up to the manager to pick his 11 and we'll all be ready."
Reading have failed to win any of their last five season openers, while Stoke have won just one of their four since returning to the Premier League. The Royals are undefeated at home against Stoke in the last 12 league meetings - winning eight and drawing four matches since 1992. The Royals' stunning end to the season saw them win eight straight home games before drawing their final match once promotion had been secured. In contrast, the Potters failed to pick up a win in any of their final nine matches on the road last season, picking up just three points in total during that run of games and scoring just three goals.
Updated August 16, 2012