Kevin Doyle believes dropping into the relegation zone takes the pressure off Reading going into the final day of the season.
Fulham's upturn in fortunes when combined with a miserable recent return for the Royals means Reading now look likely to forfeit their Premier League place on Sunday.
Reading play Derby at Pride Park aware that they need to take maximum spoils and hope Fulham and Birmingham falter elsewhere.
Prior to last weekend's results Reading had stayed out of the bottom three since March, but even though they now occupy a relegation berth, Doyle remains a model of optimism.
"I think the fact that all along we've been just out of it but now we're in the bottom three and it's not up to us means it's probably a bit of pressure off us," he told the club's official website.
"We just know we have to win and hope someone else messes up. Fulham have gone from thinking they are nearly relegated to feeling they might be nearly safe. Maybe that will affect their mindset and help us.
"If we win on Saturday and Fulham don't then we're safe. It's one game and it's all to play for. Fulham have an extremely tough game to go to Portsmouth. They are getting ready for the cup final and they'll be wanting to finish the season strongly, it won't just be an end of season game for them."