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Clarke's Transfer To Do List

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With the transfer window now open, Steve Clarke has his first chance to try and reshape his squad. While funds may be tight that doesn't mean deals can't or won't be made. With that in mind here's a look at where the new Reading manager might look to make changes.

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High Priority

Striker

With Glenn Murray's return to Crystal Palace and Pavel Pogrebnyak nursing a knee injury, the Royals currently have no out-and-out senior striker available.

Murray seems unlikely to return given his age, cost and demand so that leaves Clarke and Nick Hammond the task of trying to find someone else to fill the void.

Hal Robson-Kanu, Nick Blackman, Jamie Mackie and Simon Cox have all played up front but none have shown the ability to lead the line and score goals on a regular basis. Likewise, while young Dominic Samuel and Harry Cardwell have shown great promise in the Academy, neither seem ready for a regular run in the team just yet.

Reading were linked with the likes of Nakhi Wells, Gary Hooper and Callum Wilson in transfer windows past but none of those options seem realistic possibilities right now.

Clarke has been known to use the loan market before, memorably taking Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea while at West Brom and with Reading's funds limited, I'd consider a loan more likely than anything permanent right now. Ideally The Scot will hope that one of the likes of Robson-Kanu, Cox or Samuel can establish themselves without the need to panic buy.

Left-Back

Jordan Obita has proved himself a more than effective full-back in the past 12 months but beyond him there's no naturally left-footed replacement with league experience.

Slovenian Jure Travner has been on trial with the club and looks close to signing on a free transfer, but in the long run it would good to get another left-footer in to give Clarke more flexibility to try Obita elsewhere or cover for a long-term injury.

Needs Looking At

Central Defence

With the summer departures of Sean Morrison and Kaspars Gorkss, Reading were left with Alex Pearce as the only established centre-back on the books. Michael Hector and Jake Cooper have both shown flashes of brilliance but they- alongside Pearce himself-  have also had their fair share of problems. Anton Ferdinand looked steady but he's managed less than an hour of football in his six months at the Madejski Stadium and can't be considered a dependable option right now.

Steve Clarke's appointment seems to have shored things up a bit but should Pearce get injured, there's a worrying lack of depth within the current squad and with the Irish international also out of contract in the summer, Reading need to start looking at both the short and long-term.

An experienced head on loan would be great to have around the club, though again Ferdinand's presence might block such an arrival.

Left-Wing

Reading have struggled to find someone comfortable on the left-hand side since Jobi McAnuff was released in the summer. Hal Robson-Kanu, Nick Blackman and Jordan Obita have all had runs in the position but none have truly made it their own.

With Obita tied up at left-back it would be handy to get another left-footer or at least someone more comfortable on the left to have a crack at making the slot theirs.

Moving On Out

Right-Back

The full-back position is looking very crowded right now but with Chris Gunter, Stephen Kelly and Shaun Cummings all out of contract in the summer, it might be worth moving one of them on now to try and raise some funds elsewhere.

Central Midfield

The centre of the midfield is also starting to look strong after a year of being paper thin. With Jem Karacan and Danny Guthrie both back in the mix plus Hope Akpan returning in the next six weeks or so, we'll suddenly have six or seven options for at most three spots.

Aaron Kuhl and Aaron Tishbola are both ones to hold on to for the future so can't see them leaving, while Oliver Norwood and Danny Williams have both proved themselves solid options and in their prime years.

Akpan would possibly be the one to move on but his injury status means there's unlikely to be a team willing to take on his contract. If Danny Guthrie proves his fitness in the coming weeks a contender might just take a low cost punt- and I'm sure Reading wouldn't mind getting his contract off the books.

*******

So where do you think Steve Clarke needs to strengthen? Who should we look to move on and are there any players you'd like to see arrive at the Madejski Stadium this month? Let us know in the comments below.