Reading manager Veljko Paunovic has revealed Liam Moore, Scott Dann and Andy Rinomhota are all in contention to play this weekend as they take on Barnsley at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, as he provided an injury update to Wokingham.Today.
The former two are both fit to start according to the second-tier side’s boss, providing a much-needed boost at the back after being forced to play right-back Andy Yiadom and central midfielder Josh Laurent as makeshift centre-backs.
Both Moore and Dann remained solid at the back for the Royals in the latter stages of their last match against Cardiff City, securing just their second clean sheet of the season and ensuring they won all three points in the Welsh capital.
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Midfielder Andy Rinomhota is also in contention to play and will face a late fitness test ahead of Saturday afternoon’s clash with Markus Schopp’s men, having been out since August after sustaining an ankle injury, although it remains to be seen whether he can immediately force his way back into the starting lineup.
Right-back, Yiadom, is another man who faces a fitness test ahead of the weekend tie, having been forced off at the Cardiff City Stadium with a foot injury. He was assessed by Ghana after going on international duty with the African nation.
But there was concerning news on the likes of Alen Halilovic and Junior Hoilett, with manager Paunovic saying: “Junior (Hoilett) will be assessed upon his arrival today and then we can have a better picture of his situation.
“We have a lot of guys in the final stage of recovery who will be assessed daily.
“With two days left before the game against Barnsley, we give ourselves time to get them in the best possible shape before we make a decision.
“Scott Dann is fitter than ever since he got here, he has had time to work on his fitness with the fitness department, our coaches, and the medical team. He is fit and ready to go.
“Alen Halilovic is not fit and won’t be available for the weekend but will be assessed for the upcoming games.”
Reading needed an orthodox centre-back pairing so having both Moore and Dann fit is a big boost. The former was exceptional against Cardiff at the start of the month and the latter will only help to increase their defensive solidity with the experience and Premier League pedigree he has.
The return of Andy Rinomhota will also be a welcomed boost as a reliable option in midfield, although the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Josh Laurent and Tom Dele-Bashiru could keep him out for the time being depending on the system Paunovic utilises on Saturday.
If one of Drinkwater or Laurent become unavailable, he will be able to step in and allow Dele-Bashiru to play on the right again in the place of Alen Halilovic, with Junior Hoilett also a doubt for Saturday.
The latter’s availability would be a big boost though if his injury is only a minor one, especially with Halilovic being ruled out of action.
One of the biggest concerns has to be Andy Yiadom though. With Felipe Araruna and Tom Holmes likely to be out of action for the foreseeable future, there are no obvious candidates to step in at right-back if he fails his fitness test.
Dejan Tetek was also not in the squad for their last game and his current injury status is unclear, so it remains to be seen whether the Serbian youth international will be fit in time to start against the Tykes.