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Clarke: The Players Gave 100%

More than 4,300 Reading fans packed into Valley Parade on Saturday to watch the Royals take a hard-earned draw against the giant killing Bantams. Here's what Steve Clarke had to say about the match.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

What a day yesterday was! The players worked their absolute socks off and Steve Clarke was happy with their performance. With the 0-0 draw at Valley Parade it means that we bring Bradford back to the Madejski a week on Monday (still to be confirmed!).

Clarke told the Official Reading website, "It was a proper old fashioned cup tie, no quarter asked, no quarter given. "A battle from the first minute, typified by our captain getting a broken nose in the last minute – but nothing was going to stop him from coming back on the pitch. Both teams deserve a lot of credit."

Clarke’s tactics were spot on and we had some good chances too. The players worked so hard and in my opinion Michael Hector and Jamie Mackie had superb games, Clarke continued "We knew what to expect. We’d watched the videos of the Sunderland game, it was a scrap. Sunderland came here and tried to play a bit of football, we came here and decided we were going to roll up our sleeves, fight for every second ball, scrap and see if we could produce something.

"We hit the post twice, on another day we could have nicked a 1-0 but it’s a draw and probably a fair result. It was 2-1 to us in terms of hitting the post and you always get those moments. Now we look forward to them coming to our place."

The second half had some edgy moments with Bradford attacking their home fans in the Kop. The atmosphere was electric from both fans, but the Royals dealt with the intimidating atmosphere from the Bradford fans. Clarke added: "They had a bit more after half time, their crowd got behind them but there was never a moment when I was too worried.

"I knew we were in the game from the first minute with the way we were challenging and getting on second balls. I knew we were determined to get them back to our place if that was the best we could do. The players were 100% concentrated. Everyone can see the pitch isn't great. But every player gave their all. We’re still in the hat; we can both look at the draw. Both teams will fancy their chances. Let’s get it on."

Clarke also spoke about the replay date, which looks as though it’ll be Monday 16th March. Clarke told GetReading: "Everybody talks about the romance and the glory of the FA Cup, but I just feel that the FA have let their own competition down a bit by making both teams play away from home on a Saturday and then having to get back physically prepared and ready to go on a Monday night. That’s not to say that we won’t be ready, because we will be. But you would think the FA, in their showpiece competition, would show a little bit more common sense."

Away from the FA Cup, it’s another huge week for the club with Brighton at home on Tuesday and Watford away Saturday before Bradford visit the Madejski. Six points before then would be perfect!