Morrison on a clean sheet mission

Published: 9 Nov 2012 06:300 comments

JUST days after making his Premier League debut, Sean Morrison revealed his next big Royals target: a priceless clean sheet.

Big future: Sean Morrison, right, tracks QPR's Jamie Mackie in the 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.
Pic: Chris Forsey.

Reading are still looking for their first shut-out of the season after conceding in all nine of their top-flight games so far.

To add to their frustrations, they were ruthlessly exposed by Arsenal in last week's extraordinary Capital One Cup defeat which the Gunners somehow won 7-5 having been 4-0 down.

Morrison played in the rollercoaster tie and, despite Royals shipping seven, he kept his place at QPR last Sunday along with the majority of his shellshocked team-mates.

The response was evident as Brian McDermott's men gained a creditable 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.

Now the 21-year-old defender is poised to make his second top-flight start tomorrow when Reading host Norwich City at Madejski Stadium in another critical fixture (3pm ko).

The giant 6ft 4ins centre-back said: "The aim for the back four and goalkeeper is to keep a clean sheet. We haven't managed to do it yet but that's what we are working towards.

"Every game is winnable if you are at your best and the opposition isn't. Even Manchester United go to places and lose and we will go into the Norwich game with confidence and try to get three points.

"You have to win games against the teams around you. When you go to Man United and Liverpool you aren't expected to win and if you come away with something it's a bonus. But games like Norwich are different."

Reading fans need no reminding that McDermott's men - along with QPR - are the only side yet to win a Premier League game this season, with pressure mounting with every fixture.

But Morrison insists the squad isn't feeling the pressure: "I don't think it is a weight on our shoulders," he argued. "Every game is different, you prepare the same and you do your best to win it.

"There are a lot of games to go and I am sure we will pick up a win soon. We're not worried, you look at every game as it comes, you don't look too far ahead. You gradually take steps each game and if you can pick up three points then you can move on to the next and try and pick up three points again. It's a long season, anything can happen."

Morrison's rapid rise into the first team has surprised some fans, but his performance at Loftus Road last weekend won praise from many critics.

However, with last season's Player of the Year Alex Pearce and £2.5 million summer signing Adrian Mariappa waiting in the wings, the ex-Swindon Town star knows he cannot rest on his laurels.

Morrison, who won promotion to the Championship on loan at Huddersfield last season, vowed: "The gaffer gave me the shirt and it's up to me to keep it.

"When you are growing up and come through an apprenticeship you aim for the highest level.

"I was signed from Swindon to develop. I would do my bit and try and mould myself into a player the club would be happy with.

"The following season Kaspars Gorkss and Alex Pearce were two of the best centre-halves in the Championship. It was impossible to break into the team so I did my stuff with Huddersfield and hopefully this is my chance to establish myself as a Reading player.

"It was nice to get my first Premier League start, I'm really proud and hopefully it's the first of many."

Confident talk from a young player who barely a week ago was part of a defence that conceded seven against a weakened Arsenal side.

But Morrison stressed: "There were no scars from the Arsenal game. As soon as the final whistle went everything was forgotten, you can't dwell on it.

"We were 4-0 up and lost in extra time and the gaffer told us not to think about how it went wrong.

"Arsenal never opened us up, we were never vulnerable unless it was from a mistake or something. The back four did fairly well it was just mistakes."

Adam Federici is poised to replace injured keeper Alex McCarthy in goal against the Canaries.

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