Reading signed Everton defender Lewis Gibson on loan in the summer transfer window, as they added depth to their defensive options for the 2020/21 season.
Gibson previously spent last year’s campaign on loan with League One side Fleetwood Town, and made 14 appearances for them, as they finished sixth in the third-tier standings.
Everton would have been hoping to see Gibson further his development with regular game time with Reading in the Championship.
However, for one reason or another, that hasn’t been the case with Veljko Paunovic’s side. Gibson has been restricted to just four appearances in all competitions for the Royals this term, as they look to challenge for promotion into the Premier League.
Reading are sat fourth in the Championship table heading into their match against promotion-chasing rivals Brentford on Wednesday evening.
Veljko Paunovic has often relied on Liam Moore and Michael Morrison in the heart of the Reading defence, which has seen Gibson struggle for regular minutes.
However, with Moore being ruled out of action in recent months through injury, Tom McIntyre has been ahead of Gibson in the pecking order in Paunovic’s plans and has caught the eye with some strong performances.
This means that it seems highly unlikely that Gibson is going to feature much for Reading from now until the end of this year’s campaign, especially if they’re to remain unbeaten in 2021 in their league campaign.
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Veljko Paunovic revealed back in January that there was still a role for Gibson to play in the Reading team, which might have come as a surprise, as he remained at the Madejski Stadium, instead of being recalled from his loan spell by Everton.
“For now, our intent is that he stays with us, I think there is a role for him.
“We will see and assess the situation throughout the transfer window and we hope when he recovers he can still be part of the team.”
Reading are set to return to action on Wednesday, and will be hoping they can keep up the pressure on league-leaders Norwich City with a positive result against Brentford at the Madejski Stadium.
It seems unlikely that Gibson will be involved in the starting XI for the clash against the Bees, with Tom McIntyre and Michael Morrison likely to occupy the starting places in Paunovic’s team.
It’s not been the loan spell that the Everton loanee would have originally hoped for, and the 20-year-old will be eager to get his career heading back in the right direction at the earliest of opportunities.
Everton will surely be disappointed not to have seen him feature more regularly for Reading this season, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him heading back out on loan next season from Goodison Park.