News and Views

Could 30 Year Old Defender Be Set For Third Royals Spell

28 September 2022
By Hob Nob Anyone?

As we come out of the September international break and football resumes this weekend, Reading continue to sit in third place in the Championship table, just five points behind current leaders Sheffield United and manager Paul Ince has continued looking at options to improve the overall quality of the squad.

This week it has been confirmed that former Royal and Chelsea defender Michael Hector had returned to the club on a trial basis a few weeks ago and as well as taking part in training, it is believed he also featured in a behind closed doors friendly with Brentford on Friday.

The 30-year-old has been without a club since his release by Fulham over the summer, so even though the summer transfer window is obviously closed, if a deal makes sense, Ince can still add him to the squad given his status as a free agent. It is not, however, believed that a deal is close at this stage, but it is certainly one to watch given he originally came through our ranks all those years back prior to Chelsea snapping him up. In his original spell with us, he had numerous loan spells out for experience and went on to make 54 starting appearances before he left for Stamford Bridge in 2015 for a reported £4 million fee. He returned to us immediately on loan, and added a further 28 starts to his name, so if he does sign up for a third spell - and you would probably get goods odds on the likes of BetStation of that happening - it will not take him too long at all to hit the 100 club appearances milestone.

In other defensive news, unfortunately Naby Sarr has suffered a fresh set back as he looks to regain his fitness after picking up a calf injury. The 29-year-old French centre half has been limited to only two appearances so far in the 2022/23 campaign after his lengthy free transfer switch from Huddersfield Town over the summer.

Having been withdrawn by Ince at half time in our clash at Bramall Lane, he has not featured since and although it was initially thought that he might return shortly after the international break had finished, it is now believed that he could be out for several more weeks.

With a hectic fixture list for the club as we have to shoe horn in yet another international break - but this time for the World Cup out in Qatar in the middle of November - it is hardly the news that anyone wanted. We now face a run of seven games in 28 days, with eleven in total to play prior to the league pausing itself on November 12 and it begins this Saturday as we host Sarr's former club, Huddersfield.

As build up to that game continues, there is some good news for the gaffer though, as midfielder Ovie Ejaria is expected to make his return to the squad following his own injury issues. Like Sarr, the 24-year-old has also only featured twice for us having tweaked his hamstring in the Cardiff City game. Experienced striker Shane Long should also be fit for contention again having spent the last two matches out after picking up a virus.

All eyes to Saturday's clash.

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