Manager on recent transfers and squad selectionRoyals boss Brian McDermott spoke about our new arrivals, our outbound transfers, and his hopes for new recruits at the weekly press call at Hogwood Park on Thursday morning.
Yann Kermorgant and George Evans – both signed by Reading on permanent deals last week – debuted against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. And while they aren’t eligible to feature this weekend in the FA Cup after representing former sides in this year’s competition, the manager spoke about their first week with the club.
“They were great – they’re good guys and they’re going to be great Reading players going forward, which is really important,” said McDermott. “They’re good characters and good footballers – George had 65 minutes or so on Saturday which was good.
“Yann said that he was gutted to not finish that chance right at the end – but that was taken off his head. It was hard to see, but it was just taken off his head by the defender right at the death – he certainly would have scored if he had got it clean. Knowing Yann as I do, and how good he is in the air, if he gets crosses like that into the box then he will score.”
Brian was at Madejski Stadium to welcome our latest addition Deniss Rakels on Thursday evening, as the striker penned a deal with the Royals until the summer of 2018 to become our latest acquisition.
“He works his socks off, he's a regular international with Latvia, and he’s got a good record of scoring in Poland this season,” McDermott said of the newest member of his squad.
“I spoke to Kaspars Gorkss about him, who I know very well from my first spell as manager of Reading, and he gave me a good insight into him. He spoke really highly of Deniss, so I’m really pleased he has decided to join us.
“We're really happy to welcome him to our group, and we all want him to do really well.”
After completing a permanent transfer, Jake Taylor could make a second debut for Exeter against Hartlepool this weekend, having formerly represented the Grecians as a loanee. Meanwhile Orlando Sa debuted on Thursday evening for Maccabi Tel Aviv, after sealing a deal with the Israeli club this week.
And as well as discussing the outbound transfers, he also spoke about his hopes for further recruitment in the current transfer window.
Brian continued: “I wish them all the best on their moves – Jake we’ve known since he was a young, young lad – he’s a great boy and he can really kick-start his career now at Exeter. He is a great lad and a good player, and he’ll enjoy his time working with Paul Tisdale at Exeter, I’m sure.
“Orlando didn’t play too many times for me, but with Yann coming through the door, there was a chance for Orlando to go to play at Maccabi Tel Aviv and it’s a good move for him, and it works for the club as well.
“We’re looking for value if we can, and we’re looking for players that can improve us not just today, but for tomorrow. That’s important – I need them to be Reading-type players. Players that have got really good character, really good team ethic, and want to work for the team and the group – as well as the individual talent to play in this league.”
After a rare midweek without a fixture, the squad could welcome back some faces into the group after spells sidelined with injury.
“Michael Hector, Paul McShane and Aaron Tshibola – we’re hopeful that they will all be available for selection, which is great,” said Brian. “Garath McCleary we’re not so sure about, but overall we’re looking pretty healthy.
“I’ve not particularly had Michael to choose yet, and I’ve not really had Aaron Tshibola to choose from at all. So it’s good news.
“We’ve had an opportunity this week to work with the players. Conditions have been a bit tough – it has been freezing wind and rain et cetera – but it has been great! It has been a joy to get out there with the lads.
“The players work really hard in training and you can see that with the experienced players you have got and the younger ones, the mix is really good.”