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Interviews

Clement | "We're fit and strong and ready to go"

Paul Clement gave us an assessment of his squad's fitness in advance of Friday night's opener!

2 August 2018

Reading manager Paul Clement gave a full assessment of the squad's fitness and the options he has available to him going into the season opener against Derby County tomorrow night.

"We’ve got a fit squad," he began. "We’re at the back end of six weeks of really good quality work, on the training field and the match competition we've had.

"We played a high level of opposition in pre-season, the games were very challenging - the sort of challenges that prepare you well for a season.

"The players needed to be pushed. Last season the team had only had three weeks off after the play-off final and, as a staff, you’ve got that dilemma of how hard can they can be pushed during pre-season.

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"It’s always a fine balance you’re trying to get – push too hard you can fatigue the players and potentially injure them, don’t push hard enough and they’re not ready for competitive football and therefore at risk of injury.

"So we’ve tried to get that balance right and we’re learning all the time about individual players and what they need.

"We pushed the players hard in pre-season and the result of that is that the majority of the players are in really good shape, but along the way we’ve picked up a couple of small injuries which is normal."

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"Leandro Bacuna and John O’Shea are good, fit for selection. Paul McShane got a ball to the face on Saturday but he is fine. Good to go.

"Callum Harriott and Adi Popa had a couple of thigh injuries early on in pre-season. They’re just about to rejoin though so it won’t be long before they're fit and available. Anssi has a little issue with his Achilles which has kept him out the last couple of weeks too. 

"Garath [McCleary] and Jordan [Obita] are long-term injuries, Garath is ahead of Jordan, but he’s still a way off.

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"But Chris Gunter isn't going to be available – he’s got a small thigh injury which is going to keep him out. It’s very unusual for him because over his career he’s been very robust, always available for training, always available for games – but he got the injury lifting his leg to block a cross and there’s some damage there.

"And Dave Edwards sustained a knee injury in training, he had it scanned and there is some damage there. So he’s going to be out for a number of weeks.

"Importantly, the players who are fit are in very good condition. They look strong, they’re running hard. We’ve trained for six weeks and played in competitive friendlies...but now the season starts.

"The real work, where there is something at stake in every game. And we're ready to go!"


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