A six-point deduction plunged the Royals into a relegation battle last term, but Ince was able to provide clear messages in the dressing room that steered the club safe, following the departure of Veljko Paunovic.
With Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United enduring fairly uneventful summer transfer windows at the moment, there will be a growing belief amongst the squad and the supporter base that survival is possible in the second tier this season.
Jeff Hendrick is one of seven summer signings so far at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, and the Newcastle United loanee got on the scoresheet as the Royals beat AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season friendly.
The 30-year-old took to Instagram to express his emotions after the victory over the Dons.
He wrote: “More minutes ✅
“Great Tuesday evening.”
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Hendrick has endured a difficult last six months or so in struggling to make an impact for Queens Park Rangers in the second half of last season, before being involved in a tough patch on the international scene with the Republic of Ireland.
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Hendrick’s versatility could be extremely valuable with the Royals currently having a very thin squad ahead of the new season.
The 30-year-old and Tyrese Fornah, on loan from Nottingham Forest, are the only senior options in central midfield at the moment, with Sam Hutchinson arriving this morning to potentially play a holding role , and Dejan Tetek, 19, will probably have to be utilised from the fringes.
There are some similarities in terms of the size of the squad, that Wayne Rooney, somehow, picked up 55 points with in the Championship last season, and the Rams’ admirable fight against the drop could provide some inspiration for the Royals across the course of the campaign.