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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Adkins praise for McAnuff

Reading manager Nigel Adkins hopes to see Jobi McAnuff build on his brace against Birmingham after his captain's goals ended a two-year drought and earned them a vital 2-1 win.

Last Updated: 22/03/14 at 19:01 Post Comment

Nigel Adkins: Praised two great goals

Nigel Adkins: Praised two great goals

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McAnuff's brace moved Reading into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places as struggling City's poor home form continued at St Andrew's.

The Royals took the lead against the run of play through McAnuff's composed 39th-minute strike and though Birmingham levelled four minutes later through Paul Caddis' penalty, McAnuff popped up at the far post with an 82nd-minute winner.

"They were two excellent goals and, watching it back, two excellent footballing goals," Adkins.

"I'm surprised he hasn't scored more and it's not as if he's not had chances. But it's great that he's gone and scored them here and all being well he'll go on a nice run now.

"He works so hard, he's our captain and you know you're going to get a good shift from him."

The victory put Reading into the top six after Nottingham Forest's 5-0 defeat by Derby and Adkins is relishing the run-in.

"We're in the mix for the play-offs," he said. "We wanted to win the division but great credit to Leicester and Burnley for what they've done so far this season.

"We're in the play-off race and it's a very exciting time in the season for everybody."

Birmingham, meanwhile, have now gone 14 games without a league win at home and are just five points above the relegation zone.

"I feel really disappointed for the players today because the one result that shouldn't have happened was a defeat for us," said Blues boss Lee Clark.

"The minimum we should have got was a point. We played good stuff, we competed with a really good team and it's tough for the players to take. The slightest error seems to be getting punished at the moment.

"We have to regroup. There were a lot of positives to take from this but the lads are hurting and it's a quiet dressing room."

After a positive spell for Birmingham, Reading took a 39th-minute lead. Royston Drenthe charged down the right before crossing and when the home side failed to clear, McAnuff enjoyed plenty of time and space to set himself up before smashing right-footed into the bottom left corner.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Birmingham levelled within four minutes. Kaspars Gorkss tripped Callum Reilly in the box and after referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot, right-back Caddis stepped up to convert.

Both sides had chances to win it in the second half and again it was McAnuff who came up with the goods. Chris Gunter made inroads on the right and when he fired in a low cross, the skipper was on hand to convert.

Birmingham striker Federico Macheda had earlier hit the bar and both Nikola Zigic and Chris Burke went close to equalising but it was not to be.

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