Winger on return from injury and match-winnerFew would have called Garath McCleary to bag the winner in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Portsmouth – not for any lack of an eye for goal, but because his inclusion in the squad came as something of a surprise following his recent calf injury.
The Royals winger praised the work of the medical staff at Reading, who have helped him back to health in recent weeks – and by consequence made him available to come off the bench to net a winner at Fratton Park and secure a third-round spot.
“I’m not fully match-fit yet and I still need some game-time to get there,” explained McCleary. “But I’m free from injury and my calf is fully healed now – I put all my trust in the medical team here, and they have been superb. Hopefully I can build on it and get some more game-time.
“It was good to get a goal and win the game. The boys did really well and dug in during the second half – to come from a goal behind is nothing but positive for us.”
Reading boss Steve Clarke explained recently that he expected to have more players approaching fitness on the other side of the international break once Saturday’s game at Brentford is done and dusted. McCleary, who was at the Copa America and Gold Cup for Jamaica this summer, won’t be involved for the Reggae Boyz in this international round of fixtures and is hopeful that that team can kick on next month.
He continued: “The next game is away in Nicaragua away – but with my partner being so close to our baby being due, I’m not going away to that game. That should be a good rest for me.
“We’ll have some good training sessions in that time – the training sessions have been brilliant since I’ve been back, and there’ll be a chance for a bit of rest as well. Hopefully the other international boys won’t be too tired when they come back, and we can steam on up the Championship table.”