Manager reveals delight at busy January12 points earned means that it has been a productive January on the pitch.
But off the pitch, it has been equally fruitful – five new names have been added to the roster.
Tiago Ilori was the first to join, and then Adrian Popa linked up with the squad. And some late business saw Jordon Mutch, Reece Oxford and Lewis Grabban all join the group before Tuesday night’s deadline.
“At the beginning of January we spoke about whether we need to get extra players into the squad – the owners created the situation where it was possible, and it was good for the club and the players,” said manager Jaap Stam.
“It doesn’t mean that the new players coming in will be starting every game, because the other ones are playing very well for Reading and the team and have got results.
“But it makes it easier with those players in the squad to make certain changes. It means the chance to give certain players a rest – towards the end of the season, you need everybody fit. If you want to stay up there, you don’t want to risk certain things.
“Some players have played a lot of games in the first part of the season and they can get tired, especially in the period that is coming where we’ve got a lot of games in a short period. Sometimes you need to change certain positions, so with those players coming in it makes it a bit easier.”
The manager also felt that the club’s position in the league was a helpful bargaining chip when it came to bringing them in.
As we approach the final third of the campaign, the Royals sit third in the table – with a nine-point buffer ahead of seventh-placed Sheffield Wednesday, who sit below the dotted line.
“Players want to go to a team that is playing for something good,” Stam continued. “If a team comes who are in the bottom of the league, then with all due respect, players can think they’re not sure whether they want to play there.
“If you are doing well and you get results and try to get into the top six, people know how you work and how you want to play and sometimes that makes it easier to get players within the squad.
“Now they need to work hard – our next game is Saturday. We’ve got a certain philosophy… the players who join us may not have been playing in our style and they will need to get used to it in training.
“If you throw a lot of players straight into the first XI, you don’t know how that’s going to work out. We need to work with them and teach them, make it clear for them what they need to do at the right time, and by doing that eventually they’ll pick that up and do well for the team.”