The manager gives an injury updateSteve Clarke has provided an injury update ahead of tomorrow's trip to Fulham.
The Royals welcomed back Jem Karacan and Pavel Pogrebnyak for last weekend’s draw with Middlesbrough but remained without absent trio Hope Akpan, Anton Ferdinand and Garath McCleary.
The manager is hopeful that McCleary could make his return at Craven Cottage, with Karacan and Pogrebnyak again in contention.
“Everyone is improving and Garath has done a little of training this week,” said Clarke “I was obviously quite hopeful that he would make it last week. I’m a little bit more confident that he’ll be involved in some capacity for us this week, which is good.
“Pavel put in a good shift for me in the game against Middlesbrough and I was a little bit conscious that he had been out a long time and had only had four full training sessions with the squad.
“He’s been fine and has trained all of this week. He’s a good addition to the squad and we’re looking forward to him scoring some goals, hopefully starting on Saturday against his old club Fulham.
“Hope is out of the equation until the start of February. His injury was crystal clear, a dislocated shoulder, and that takes time. He’s not allowed to take part in full-contract training until the end of the month.
“Anton is slowly coming along. We’re being careful because he’s had one or two setbacks as he’s tried to come back, so we’re being careful but he’s making decent progress.”
Karacan was set to play for the U21s in their postponed match at Arsenal on Monday evening, but still managed to get vital minutes under his belt the following morning.
“It would’ve been disappointing but we had a contingency plan in place,” Clarke revealed. “We had a really good training ground game here the following morning.
“Credit to the ground staff at Hogwood who got the pitch playable for us and I managed to play an 11 v 11 game, so some of the players who needed to get minutes on the pitch, including Jem, managed to get that on Tuesday morning.”