Steve Clarke has confirmed that goalkeeper Jonathan Bond will be out of the side for up to a month with a groin strain. The England Under-21 stopper missed Saturday's 2-0 win against Middlesbrough with the problem, and speaking to GetReading afterwards, Clarke said:
“He was a slight doubt for Burnley last week but he played the game and aggravated it. Calf strains can be anything between two to four weeks depending how severe it is. We will just monitor him this week and see how he comes through.”
International football takes over for the next fortnight, but when club football returns, it means that Bond could miss the games against Fulham, Rotherham, Brighton and Huddersfield Town. Since signing from Watford in the summer, the 22 year old has made nine competitive appearances for the Royals, keeping three clean sheets.
The injury means that Ali Al-Habsi, who has come under some criticism so far this season, will be between the sticks, with youngster Stuart Moore on the bench. But Clarke has no worries with selecting the Oman international, praising his performance against Middlesbrough:
"He was focused for the game. I thought his handling was superb. He came, punched, caught a couple, took the pressure off and made one fantastic save from the free-kick in the first half. That gives your defenders confidence as well.”
What do you think of the news Reading fans? Are you worried with Al-Habsi in goal? Let us know.