The Wokingham Paper

PREVIEW: Jaap Stam sweating on fitness of four ahead of Reading FC trip to Derby

Sam Smith is a doubt for tomorrow's trip to Derby (Pics by Steve Smyth)

Jaap Stam is set to make late calls on four of his player ahead of Saturday’s trip to Derby County.

Reading produced a fine display to get back on track with a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night thanks to a John Swift brace and Sone Aluko goal.

RATINGS: Swift and Mannone star for Reading against Forest

But Stam could be without two of the players who started that game.

Sam Smith picked up a knock early on, but battled on until the hour mark while Joey van den Berg was removed at half-time after a head injury.

Yann Kermorgant could be in line for his first start this season

Tiago Ilori is unlikely to be risked following concussion against Middlesbrough last Saturday while Liam Kelly missed the Forest win with a thigh problem.

PODCAST: Tom and Olly discuss a busy week for Reading FC

“Joey had a collision in the box against Forest,” said Stam.

“He was on the floor after he got a knock from Macca (Paul McShane) and the striker as well at the same time.

“He had some headaches at half-time so he couldn’t go on.

“Tiago is feeling quite good but he still has got a lot of stitches in his head.

“He had a concussion so we are not sure if he can be available for Saturday.

“I don’t think it’ll be easy to get him in the squad.”

He added: “We took Liam Kelly off against Middlesbrough because he felt a muscle in his thigh after one of the passes that he gave.

“Again, we’re not sure what we can do with him towards Saturday.

“Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is not back. Sam Smith got a knock at the beginning of the Forest game when he was chasing the defender.

“He made a tackle on that defender and I don’t know if he stepped on his shin or knee.

“He felt a lot of discomfort from that and he wasn’t fit after that.”

As well as Bodvarsson, Callum Harriott (hamstring), Stephen Quinn, Jordan Obita and Joseph Mendes (all knee) are all still unavailable while George Evans and Garath McCleary and unlikely to be risked.

Tiago Ilori is unlikely to be risked

And Stam admits it has been a testing season on the injury front.

“It is very frustrating,” he said.

“We spoke about it a lot over the last couple of weeks and we’re always looking for answers.

“But we’ve seen now as well what happens in games, you get knocks or kicks.

“For some reason if we get a kick the referee just keeps on going.

“It happens and we need to deal with that. We’re not going to use injuries as excuses for not winning games.”

READ: Yann Kermorgant shelves retirement plans and signs new contract

After Reading’s last win, 1-0 at Leeds, they could not follow it up the following game, losing at Sheffield United.

And Stam is not expecting an easy ride at in-form Derby.

“You always want to stay in that flow and keep that momentum and keep winning your games,” he said.

Pressure has been lifted on Jaap Stam after Tuesday’s win

“Everybody knows that it’s not easy. We need to understand that we’re facing very good teams.

“Forest is a very good team that plays very good football. Middlesbrough is a very good team, just came down from the Premier League and Derby is a team that is always going for promotion every season.

“We are trying to get there but we are not there that we can say we need to go up straightaway this season. Or because last season we ended third so now we need to do that again. We need to work very hard to get the results. It’s not easy for us.

“Going to Derby on Saturday of course we’re going to go for it again and try to get that result and they’re going to make it difficult for us but with a win behind us, hopefully you go over there with a better feeling, with confidence we can make it difficult for everybody.”

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