Reading interim boss Paul Ince has admitted he wants to extend centre-back Terell Thomas’ stay at the Select Car Leasing Stadium beyond the end of the season if he wins the top job on a permanent basis, making this revelation to Berkshire Live.
After making his mark during a trial period, the defender signed a short-term deal in the latter stages of March to remain in Berkshire until the end of the 2021/22 campaign but only had a very limited period to prove his worth in action.
Making his debut during the penultimate game of the season against West Bromwich Albion, he was forced to come off just after the hour mark after sustaining cramp, though he did well enough against Steve Bruce’s side at right-back.
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Considering he usually plays at centre-back, he put in a decent shift during what was his first ever appearance in the second tier and he started against Luton Town too, not disgracing himself against a promotion-chasing side.
Some would argue that should earn him fresh terms in Berkshire – but the supporters haven’t seen enough of him to decide whether they should keep him beyond the summer or not.
However, one thing is for certain and that’s the fact an addition is needed at centre-back to sure up the Royals’ defence, with Ince’s side having the joint-worst defensive record in the division during 2021/22.
Conceding 87 goals in 46 league games, it’s a miracle that the Berkshire outfit managed to remain afloat in the second tier and although better coaching was arguably needed, a fresh face may also be required to change things at the back.
Tom Holmes is out of contract this summer but with plenty of room for improvement, he should get a new deal and Scott Dann will be remaining at the club until 2023 after putting pen to paper on fresh terms.
Jeriel Dorsett may also be an option if he signs a deal after impressing at League Two side Rochdale and Tom McIntyre is under contract so there are four options for the first team already.
McIntyre is arguably suited to being a midfielder though and Dorsett’s future is unclear so one or two new additions could be beneficial, with Michael Morrison showing signs of regression this season.
Because of this decline, his contract shouldn’t be renewed in a playing capacity. Thomas is one man that could be a long-term successor at 26 – but a player with more experience at this level or higher will probably be needed to turn things around for next season.
Perhaps Ince has done the ex-AFC Wimbledon man a disservice by not playing him in his natural position – but even his versatility probably isn’t enough to earn him fresh terms if a new manager comes in.
At right-back, Andy Yiadom is on the verge of signing an extension and with youngsters Kelvin Abrefa and Tyrell Ashcroft pushing for a spot in the first-team squad, he may not be needed in this area. Abrefa looks particularly good – and keeping Thomas may block his pathway if they aren’t careful.