Jose Gomes admits the recent build-up of injuries will make a tough task against Leeds even tougher on Tuesday evening (8pm).
The Royals welcome the promotion hopefuls to Madejski Stadium on the back of two thrilling victories, including Saturday’s 3-2 win over Wigan Athletic, which has moved them three points clear of the relegation zone.
But the victory may have come at a cost with Ovie Ejaria forced off in the first half with a groin problem while Liam Moore completed the match despite suffering from a dislocated shoulder in the second half.
Neither have yet been officially ruled out but with Nelson Oliveira (hamstring), Andy Rinomhota (ankle), Saeid Ezatolahi (quad), Jordan Obita (knee), Sam Baldock (thigh) and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (calf) already unavailable, Gomes’ options will be limited against Leeds.
“We will try to recover the best that we can because it is not easy with just two days to recover,” said the Royals boss.
“We will count the guns that we have for this war because we have players with small injuries and some players are completely out.
“Even if we didn’t have any injuries, it would be very difficult on Tuesday. With injuries, it’s even more difficult.
“Leeds play very good football with a very good dynamic. They are maybe the best team regarding the intensity that they put in the game, the speed that the circulate the ball.
“They are a very good team so it will be another tough game.”
He added: “It will be a different game, not like Wigan. But we cannot say it will be easier because they play very well.
“It’s an 8 o’clock kick-off, I don’t know if the people can be in the stadium. I hope so because they are very important, like they showed on Saturday.”
Paul McShane is the leading candidate to replace Moore should he be unable to play against Leeds.
After a string of injury problems and the arrival of Matt Miazga, McShane has not featured since giving away two penalties in a 2-2 draw against Blackburn way back in August.
But the Irishman was sent out to warm-up for a prolonged period during the second half against Wigan as Moore soldiered on and was about to come on before the referee blew his final whistle on Saturday.
“Liam Moore is really brave,” said Gomes.
“He suffered but he didn’t want to come out of the game. For sure after the game he will feel more pain but hopefully he can play on Tuesday. We’ll see. He gave a fantastic example against Wigan.”
He added: “Ovie has a problem in his groin but I don’t know if he can play on Tuesday or not. We must wait for the medical department’s opinion.
“To be prepared for an intense game we must train with intensity as well, otherwise you cannot prepare.
“Sometimes this happens. I think that Ovie is not a serious injury.
“What happened with Moore, we cannot make any real relation with how we are working. His arm was pulled and his shoulder was dislocated.”