Nigel Adkins says his Reading players still believe they can preserve their Premier League status and will fight to the finish against Southampton.
The Royals sit bottom of the table, seven points adrift of safety after a run of seven straight defeats.
Adkins' first home game in charge comes against his former club, and he believes victory over Southampton on Saturday could be just the catalyst Reading need to pull off a great escape.
"You won't be in our dressing room if you think it is a lost cause," he said.
"The opposition are in a good vein of form but we are at home. We have to get the three points at the weekend.
"It is very close down there. We need to get some victories under our belt.
"These are the two teams that finished first and second in the Championship last season. There were some good games last season, it was a good game this year at St Mary's.
"You have to have a good home record. It is very important and there is an inner belief that we can win our games (at the Madejski Stadium)."
Adkins believes he knows Southampton's squad better than his successor Mauricio Pochettino, having enjoyed back-to-back promotions at the club.
"Our players will be well versed on what will be required," Adkins said.
"With every opposition team, every player in the opposition is a threat. 'Never underestimate your opponent' - that is in Sun Tzu's Art of War.
"That's something we've always talked about."