Ahead of the weekend's trip to the second city to take on the Sky Blues, our Head Coach spoke with the assembled media.
Before discussing the trip to Coventry City this weekend, the gaffer addressed last night’s news regarding Darren Moore now suffering with pneumonia, after previously contracting COVID-19.
Valérien had already referred to this on social media, and again wanted to send his best wishes to the former Reds defender and current Sheffield Wednesday manager.
“I think it shows how dangerous this virus could be.” Ismaël pointed out.
“It makes you feel it more when a colleague ends up in this way. I can only wish him a speedy recovery and hope for he and his family that he returns to full health as soon as possible.”
Moving onto the health and well-being of his squad of players, Ismaël confirmed that it will be the same group that will be heading to St. Andrew’s on Sunday afternoon.
Whilst the long-term absentees are edging ever closer to a return, the boss explained that the focus is on those who are available and who are feeling refreshed and up for the big games ahead.
He told us: “Everyone - other than Liam Kitching, Ben Williams and Herbie Kane - are fit right now, fresh and ready to go. To attack the last weeks of the season.
“That begins with this Sunday and Coventry City.
“We are all concentrated, focused only on this game. We take it one by one. That goes for myself and for the guys. We focus only on the pitch and what we have to do to get our rewards.”
The Reds currently occupy the final playoff position, with a five-point cushion between them and Reading in 7th place.
But the Royals face Cardiff City tonight, and Valérien knows that with 15 points still up for grabs, nothing is settled just yet.
He is however, feeling confident heading into the home straight of the 20/21 campaign.
“This is the money time.” He stated.
“We are in the final stage and I feel a big motivation in the squad. The team spirit is very high. We are all ready for what is in front of us.
“We will continue to be determined, to be prepared for whatever challenge is ahead of us.
“That moves onto this weekend and Coventry.”
Sunday’s opponents were in action last night, picking up a huge victory against Rotherham United in a big relegation battle.
It was a game that Ismaël attended and he knows the challenges his side will face this weekend.
“I saw them at Rotherham in the stadium last night, and it was a very low-risk game, you could sense the pressure in the game but I think Coventry deserved their result.
“It doesn’t matter about days between the fixtures, because we had lots of games, a tough schedule when Coventry were not playing.
“It is all about getting the three points on Sunday. We are ready to take that next step.”