JAAP Stam has revealed he is under no pressure from the Reading FC owners to finish in the top six this season.

Stam exceeded expectations by guiding Royals to third in the Championship table last season before losing the play-off final to Huddersfield Town.

But this season has been a struggle for the Dutchman as two wins from the opening 10 games including no wins in the last five leaves Reading 20th in the table and one point above the drop zone.

Stam’s tactics of starting games without a recognised striker have also been questioned by disgruntled supporters.

But Royals boss was this week eager to lower expectations and insists he and Chinese owners Dai Yongge and sister Dai Xiu Li are singing from the same hymn sheet.

He explained: “I talk with the owners quite often, we talked this week about how everything is going and what we eventually want to try and do with the club.

“We talked about how we are working, what we can expect from players and the team.

“The owner is very good, he knows this is a long-term project and that things aren’t going to go your way all the time.

“There are ups and downs, but eventually we want to keep taking steps forward and be very consistent.”

He added: “When the new owners came last season we spoke regularly about their plans for the club, how I see it and how they see it.

“They never said we need to end up in the top six or get promotion this season because they know how it goes.

“They have that experience of owning a club in Belgium and China, they know how things work and how it can go in football which is a very good thing.

“Other owners bring in players and say 'you need to be aiming for this position'. But ours are very realistic in what we want to achieve with the first team and also the Academy to create that structure where eventually we go up to the Premier League and then stay there.

“But firstly we need to build and reach a level where we contend for a promotion spot.”

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Sone Aluko crosses the ball during Reading's 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City last time out.

Reading will be trying to end a run of back-to-back league defeats to Millwall and Norwich City this Saturday.

But it won’t be easy for Stam’s men as they face fifth-placed Leeds United at Elland Road (3pm ko).

Leeds, though, have also lost their last two games to Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff under new boss Thomas Christiansen.

“They’ve lost their last two games 3-0 and 3-1 and there is always that question about whether it’s a good time to play them,” stated Stam.

“We just need to focus on ourselves. We know what Leeds can do, we have watched a lot of videos of them when they were doing well earlier in the season. We know what to expect from them.”

Stam is facing a number of injury concerns after Jordan Obita was ruled out for the season following reconstructive knee surgery this week.

John Swift (hamstrings), Yann Kermorgant (hip and groin), Callum Harriott (hamstring), Joseph Mendes (knee) and Stephen Quinn (knee) are all unavailable.

Leeds, however, are confident Eunan O'Kane and Pontus Jansson have shaken off knocks and will start against Royals, with Caleb Ekuban (broken foot) their only notable absentee.