Reading FC defender Michael Morrison has welcomed the return of Garath McCleary and Sam Baldock to the Royals’ side, hailing their determination and professionalism in the face of adversity.
McCleary and Baldock have had a difficult time at the Berkshire club so far this season, as both men were frozen out of the first team by previous boss Jose Gomes, with the former forced to train with the Under-23’s until further notice.
However, since Mark Bowen took the managerial reigns after Gomes’s sacking in October, the Welshman has re-instated the winger and striker back into the fold at the Madejski Stadium.
It has paid dividends, as Baldock has scored twice since his return to the side, with a Man of the Match display against Millwall two weeks ago his standout moment this season.
McCleary was visibly emotional against Luton on the weekend, as he scored his first Royals goal in 950 days, finding the net for Reading’s third after coming on for his second substitute appearance of the season.
31-year-old Morrison has hailed the pair’s professionalism in an interview with the club website, stating that McCleary’s return, in particular, has given the dressing room a lift.
“He [McCleary] is setting standards every day,” Morrison said.
“Garath is someone the younger players can look up to. It’s difficult when you’re out of the team and not even training with the team. All that hard work has come through.”
It is clear that the return of these two influential players to the Reading side has helped the dressing room, which could have had a bearing on their recent positive results in the Championship.
With McCleary being a senior team-leader in the dressing room as long-serving player, and Baldock offering Bowen an alternative striking option, it could help Reading greatly for the remainder of the season.