Manager on injury blows to Kelly and RakelsThe Royals claimed a place in round three of the EFL Cup at the expense of MK Dons – but that came at the cost of two nasty-looking injuries to Deniss Rakels and Liam Kelly.
Latvian forward Rakels, ever-willing, closed down a clearance high upfield – but picked up an ankle injury at the same time. He had to be withdraw in the 20th minute.
And later Liam Kelly, who was making his competitive debut for the first team, clashed heads with teammate Jake Cooper and had to be stretchered off.
Defender Cooper himself picked up a knock late on and moved up front rather than withdrawing himself completely, while Tennai Watson had a touch of cramp towards the end after covering every blade of grass on the right.
“Deniss is going to the hospital – it was a challenge on his ankle, so we’re not sure if it’s going to be bad,” manager Jaap Stam told the press straight after the match. “He will go and have x-rays.
“Deniss is an excellent professional – he is always working very hard. He is a real team player with qualities in the box and he knows how to score a goal. He has worked very hard for the team the on the pitch with the runs he makes to create space for other players. If he is injured and out for a long time, that will be a big pity.
“Liam Kelly has a cut on his eyebrow and his nose and he’ll have a lot of stitches in his face.
“We don’t know just yet whether it’s a concussion. We will need to see tomorrow.”