There was another cruel blow for the Royals last weekend, when Chris Gunter was the latest player to sustain an injury – and subsequently he missed out against West Brom in midweek.
But the timing was uncanny as another right-back returned. Andy Yiadom, playing his first senior match since the start of December, was recalled into the side and completed the duration with a typically all-action display.
Manager Mark Bowen said: “I don’t like to go into individuals, but Andy Yiadom has been out for seven or so weeks – going into the game I’m thinking ‘how long can he last?’
“Maybe 65, 70 minutes and look at him from there… he’s ended up playing 94 minutes. And looked like he’d never been away.
“I’m absolutely delighted for that – having him back will strengthen us going forward.”
That list of unavailable players has been a bit of bugbear, with some important members of the team still out of contention at the moment.
“We have had some really key players injured,” he continued. “Andy was missing for a long time, and he’s a key player on my team. Lucas João was becoming a key player for us, and we lost him.
“And we had a situation recently where John Swift was flying in the way that he was playing, and then we lost him for a month. Matt Miazga is a big player for us and he’s got a long-term injury too.
“So we’ve been a bit unlucky in that respect. That’s the thing that can disrupt you – losing mainstays of your team.
“But I’m delighted with Andy, and having him available again with strengthen us.”