Championship side Reading could see another two players out of action this afternoon as they travel to Birmingham City, with Ovie Ejaria and Liam Moore both huge doubts ahead of this tie, according to Berkshire Live’s Jonathan Low.
The Royals have been suffering with an injury crisis for much of the 2021/22 campaign, with Andy Yiadom and Danny Drinkwater the latest absentees as they missed Tuesday evening’s trip to Millwall, forcing manager Veljko Paunovic to start 17-year-old Tyrell Ashcroft at The Den and leaving the side looking as threadbare as ever.
Their six additions in the summer looked to have eased concerns over squad depth, with Scott Dann, Alen Halilovic, Junior Hoilett, Baba Rahman, Drinkwater and Tom Dele-Bashiru all arriving at the club as much-needed additions in August, as the Berkshire outfit were forced to work within a strict transfer embargo.
Quiz: 30 questions about some of Reading FC’s best ever players – Can you score 100% correct?
But these additions have effectively been cancelled out by injuries throughout the squad, with three of the previous window’s signings in Halilovic, Hoilett and Drinkwater currently recovering from their injuries.
For a side that were forced to put six academy players on the bench in midweek, this latest news on Ejaria and Moore is a huge concern to the Royals, who may be forced to revert to a four at the back in the absence of the latter and play youngster Mamadi Camara to replace the former.
In slightly better news for the Royals, Paunovic was hopeful of a return for Drinkwater this weekend after spending midweek out with a minor soft tissue injury, although it is currently unclear whether Halilovic is fit enough to return and what the state of play is with Yiadom, who was forced to isolate due to the ‘Covid situation’.
It’s not yet known whether the Ghanaian full-back has contracted the virus.
Judging by the way Moore was hobbling at the end of Tuesday’s game, there was already concern about the captain’s availability going into this tie so the news about his potential absence comes as no surprise to many.
However, Ejaria being a huge doubt is a massive blow as one of the Royals’ main creative outlets and supporters of the Berkshire outfit will hope this isn’t a long-term injury.
Thankfully for the Royals, the international break has come around at the right time – but they won’t have another interval for a while after the next one and this is a massive concern for the remainder of the season, because this problem with injuries has been present at the club for years.
At this stage, Reading won’t have a fully fit squad for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign and this is a major blow considering the nine-point deduction which could be on the way very shortly.
Not just quality, but strength in depth will be needed if they want to ensure they drag themselves away from relegation danger and currently, they don’t have that. What they do need is as many players back as possible after the international break to overturn their current form.