Reading manager Veljko Paunovic has revealed Scott Dann is in the ‘final stages’ of his preparation ahead of a potential debut in the near future, as he spoke to the Reading Chronicle’s Matt Joy after their 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
With Tom McIntyre out for the foreseeable future with a foot injury, Liam Moore forced to withdraw against Peterborough United this month, Michael Morrison and Tom Holmes picking up injuries at Craven Cottage and Scott Dann not yet fit to start, Paunovic opted to utilise central midfielder Josh Laurent and right-back Andy Yiadom as makeshift centre-backs for today’s early kick-off.
McIntyre, Moore, Holmes, and Morrison are all expected to be out for a while, leaving the makeshift duo and 17-year-old Michael Stickland as options at the heart of defence.
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However, summer signing Dann, who was released by Premier League side Crystal Palace in the summer and didn’t have a pre-season to train with a club after arriving at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in late August, could potentially be in line for a place in the matchday squad soon after looking ‘very good’ in his most recent training session.
It remains to be seen whether the 34-year-old will be ready in time to play a part in the Royals’ next game against Derby County, although an injury to this afternoon’s right-back Dejan Tetek could make him a vital asset to the second-tier side as a heavily experienced operator in the top two tiers.
Dann may only make a limited number of appearances when injured options return though, only featuring 15 times in the top flight last term.
If Reading need anyone right now, it’s Scott Dann to make an impact. The Royals’ clean sheet against Boro with their very limited options in central defence was impressive, but this isn’t a viable option in the long term and they need an organiser to put together a string of clean sheets.
Injuries to the likes of Yiadom and the usually-reliable Laurent can’t be ruled out with a busy Championship schedule on the horizon and the Royals’ current injury record, so the maximum amount of players they can get back into action safely, the better.
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Ideally, Dann would come on as a substitute to ease himself into life in the second tier, but this will very much depend on Tetek’s injury and Paunovic’s potential willingness to utilise Stickland.
However, the fact he could be available as an option soon after missing another match is good news for Reading fans and one that should be welcomed with open arms considering their current situation.
If he can stay fit, he could potentially become one of the Royals’ better signings over the past few years. Morrison proved to be a shrewd free addition, Dann is likely to be reliable as well.