After undergoing a trial period at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, Thomas arrived as the first signing of Ince’s tenure in the latter stages of March, coming in to provide depth to a defence that had previously been hampered by injury troubles.
Holding one of the worst defensive records in the division at the time of his arrival, the 26-year-old would have been hoping to make an impact but he only made his debut last weekend, coming in at right-back but being replaced after the hour mark after picking up cramp.
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That leaves him with just one more chance to impress with the Royals travelling to Kenilworth Road this weekend as they face Luton Town – and he may start once more with Andy Yiadom fracturing his foot a number of weeks ago and Felipe Araruna also out.
This could be crucial for Thomas who will be keen to put in one last shift with his contract expiring at the end of the campaign – and a good performance will either go a long way in earning him fresh terms in Berkshire or will help to generate interest from other clubs in his signature.
He has made it clear that he wants to remain in Berkshire – and also wants Ince to join him with the 54-year-old preparing to engage in talks with owner Dai Yongge regarding his future after keeping the Royals up.
“I’m just here to play football and I just want to concentrate on staying fit and waiting for an opportunity to show how well I can play. I’d love to be here.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Paul Ince and he’s helped me through the transition of coming into the club and made me feel good so I’d love to see him here and me being here too.”
It will be interesting to see whether Thomas stays – and it may come down to whether Ince stays or goes as to whether they decide to extend his stay in Berkshire because a new manager is unlikely to hand out a new contract to the ex-AFC Wimbledon man straight away.
Ince, on the other hand, has already seen the 26-year-old in action and on the training pitch, so it will be fascinating to see whether he’s offered fresh terms with his appearance at the weekend his first in the second tier.
His lack of experience at this level could count against him – but the fact the Royals need to abide by a business plan means they will be looking to bring in players for free and on low wages, with Thomas probably ticking both of those boxes.
One eye should be on Ince’s future too because the former England international has signalled that he wants to make considerable changes at the club this summer – and it remains to be seen whether the club’s owner will sanction those alterations.
His record hasn’t exactly been the best since his arrival in Berkshire – but they looked doomed before his arrival so the reaction is likely to be very mixed on social media if he does extend his stay.