STRIKER Rudy Gestede is determined to ensure Blackburn Rovers keep their belief as they hunt down a place in the Championship play-offs.

Gary Bowyer’s men are seven points behind this afternoon’s opponents Reading but have a games in hand on the sixth place Royals.

And Gestede knows that, whatever the result at the Madjeski Stadium today, Rovers have to believe they can get in the top six.

The 25-year-old experienced promotion to the Premier League with Cardiff City last season and is keen to repeat the feat this time around.

He said: “We are not far from the play off places and we still believe we can do it.

“With 16 games to go you never know what can happen.”

Asked if Gestede had a message for the players in the Rovers squad who have not experienced a promotion push before he added: “Keep believing because the season is long.

“Have belief in yourself and win games. Everyone is focused and believes we can get into the play offs.”

And, despite any defeat at Reading this afternoon extending that gap to sixth to 10 points, Gestede insists the outcome won’t make or break Rovers’ season.

He added: “Even if we lose the next two games it is nothing because there is still so many games to play.

“Of course we want to win games not to lose or get a draw. We go to Reading to win the game and get points.

“At the moment we are still in the race even if we are seven points behind Reading.

“It is going to be hard to win each game but we are going to do the best we can do. We have a good team and a good side.”

Rovers go into the match having had two weeks without a game while Reading were in action last Sunday, winning 3-1 at QPR.

And Gestede believes the extra rest Rovers have enjoyed could play a part both this afternoon and in the long term picture with Rovers facing eight, and possibly nine, games in March.

He said: “It was good to have some time off and think about something else because now we are going to be focusing until the end of the season and we know we can do something.

“March could be a key month but there is still a lot of games in April. There are a lot of points to play for.”