Mostly Injured!

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As the early part of the season unfolds, squads start to take shape for the end of the first transfer window. In most cases, clubs will have settled on their starting XI save for a few tweaks here and there. In other cases, clubs will have to endure the tension of their clubs being raided for their best players within the window. All normal, all part and parcel of the game...as are injuries. All our teams suffer with them, but when you lose your star player, or a playmaker or defensive talisman it's usually felt on the pitch somehow. But, imagine that multiplied by 3...or maybe 4. Or how about almost an entire first team XI missing through injury? Because that's what my team, Reading FC, are currently enduring. During all my many years of supporting Reading, I have never seen anything like it.

As I write, before our tricky away fixture against Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough, we have TWELVE bona fide first team players missing. (13, if you include Royston Drenthe (remember him?!) who is currently persona non grata and excluded from even training with the first team.)

The current situation appears to be thus...
*Obita - LB - Fitness test for today's game, could be OK.
*Cummings - RB/LB - Knee, 2 weeks possibly until fit.
Kelly - RB/LB - No return date specified.
Hector - CD/DM - Two weeks, maybe less.
Ferdinand - CD (Anton, yeah him!) - Not yet fit, not played a competitive game for over a year!
*McCleary - RW - Back injury, a very bad one! November, maybe. (More on him later.)
*Robson-Kanu - RW/ST - Knee, injured in pre-season, another month at least.
*Karacan - DM - Out injured for almost a year. Could return in October but eased in gently.
Williams - DM - American international who suffered all year with knee problems. October return slated.
Guthrie - AM - Calf, ongoing issue that shows no sign of being cured. October?
*Blackman - RW/ST - A mere two weeks!
*Pogbrebnyak - ST - A recent dead leg, could be back within a week or so.

So, there you have it. Pretty much an entire first team completely decimated via either injuries sustained in games (marked with an asterisk) or training. Karacan and McCleary have been desperately missed, the latter having played with two broken vertebrae in his back during the tail end of last season. This was only picked up on a scan during pre-season, can you believe! Coupled with that, we've also lost Alex McCarthy who has just been sold to QPR, Sean Morrison, sold to Cardiff and also released familiar names to the Championship in Jobi McAnuff and Kaspars Gorkss in the summer.

Inbound, Reading have bought in a paltry four players (one of those being Anton Ferdinand, as listed above) so to say that resources are thin is a huge understatement. Luckily, we do have a promising Category 1 Academy to bolster the gaps created, but obviously to throw in young, inexperienced players to the furious pace of the Championship is a hell of a task. Currently, Reading have given debuts to at least 5 Academy players this season.

Safe to say, Reading will need fill some of those gaps leading up to the end of the transfer window, otherwise we may find ourselves in deep trouble. Oh, did I mention that we still haven't had our recent takeover ratified by the Football League after six weeks of it initially being confirmed by the club? Life is interesting as a Royal!
 

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