Reading boss Paul Ince believes his side proved they can go toe to toe against the very best in the Championship after their 1-1 draw with Norwich City.

The Royals have the best home record in the division and have upset the odds to find themselves at the right end of the table despite some gloomy pre-season predictions.

Norwich were unable to find an answer to the problems posed by Ince's team, be it the aerial prowess of cultured striker Andy Carroll or breaking down their deep defensive block.

Dean Smith was quick to praise Reading's work out of possession as the primary reason his side struggled to create high quality opportunities despite having a larger share of the ball throughout the game.

Reading had the better chances to win the game, with Ince also left bemoaning a 'clear penalty' that wasn't given for a supposed handball against Grant Hanley in the second half.

Ince felt that the level of his team's performance against one of the favourites for promotion was a sign Reading are moving in the right direction.

"You’re playing a team that has come down from the Premier League with some good players and a top manager and we competed with them and didn’t look out of place.

"I said before the game it will be a good test for you, go and embrace it. There’s no pressure or expectations on you, but there's expectation from yourself and the manager.

The Pink Un: Reading battled hard to win a point against Norwich City.Reading battled hard to win a point against Norwich City. (Image: (C)Focus Images Limited +44 7813 022858)

"We’re growing in the games were playing," Ince said. "There will be bumps along the road but we’re able to compete with a team that are one of the favourites to go up. If we are on it, we can compete with any team. They are very talented, play some lovely football and that’s where we want to be in a couple of years time.

"We got spurred on by the crowd. They never gave in and thoroughly deserved the equaliser from Jeff (Hendrick), who was outstanding.

"It’s funny because the lads are disappointed, they’ve not won the game. That’s how far we’ve come- we’re playing one of the top teams in the league who will definitely be up there, and we’re disappointed we haven’t come away with three points."