Veljko Paunovic believes he is still the right man to take Reading forward as he prepares his side for Tuesday’s Championship clash with promotion-chasing Fulham at the Select Car Leasing Stadium (Reading 6/1, Draw 19/5, Fulham 4/9 – Match Betting).

It has been a difficult season for Reading to date, as they sit just a place and three points above the relegation zone following a run of two wins from their last 11 league games, a sequence that has been compounded by a six-point deduction for a breach of EFL profit and sustainability regulations.

If that was not bad enough, the Royals were also on the receiving end of a shock 2-1 defeat at National League North outfit Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup third round on Saturday – a result that has further ramped up the pressure on under-fire boss Paunovic.

The Serbian, who led his side to a seventh-place finish last season, is convinced he can turn Reading’s fortunes around, starting with Tuesday’s home clash with high-flying Fulham.

“I do believe, and I believe in myself. You don’t know what I am capable of and the things we are dealing with which are out of our control,” Paunovic told reporters.

“I will turn this around, and you and I will have a different conversation in a couple of months.”

Reading (2/1 to be relegated) will be without injured quartet Alen Halilovic, Felipe Araruna, Michael Morrison and Tom McIntyre for Tuesday’s match, while Lucas Joao and Ovie Ejaria are considered doubts and Andy Yiadom and Baba Rahman are away representing their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Fulham (4/7 Championship Outright) will head into the fixture having not played a Championship match since before Christmas due to a run of postponements, a sequence that has seen Marco Silva’s side drop out of the automatic promotion positions.

The Cottagers did claim a 1-0 victory over Bristol City in the FA Cup over the weekend, albeit after extra time, while a victory on Tuesday would see them move above Blackburn Rovers and back up to second in the standings.

Silva is sweating over the fitness of both Ivan Cavaleiro and Terence Kongolo, while Jean Michael Seri is away at AFCON, but apart from that he will have a full squad to choose from for the trip to Berkshire.

That includes the Championship’s leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic (4/6 anytime scorer), who will be looking to add to the 22 goals he registered over the first half of the season.

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