With Reading going into their last few games of the season, it's even more clear than it already was that we won't be gracing the promotion or relegation slots any time soon. With that in mind, Brian McDermott is obviously looking to use the remaining minutes available in the current campaign to prepare for the next.
However, beyond experimenting with players already involved with the first team squad, it appears that the gaffer is keen to assess what the academy has to offer. Speaking to the BBC, McDermott said...
"I need to know who we've got. I've watched all the under-21 games since I came back. I need to know how they're doing, who's able to play in the first team and who isn't."
Pretty standard stuff by all accounts, but it'll come as a big boost to a number of young Royals with hopes of first team action in 2016/17. It certainly seems like Brian is ready to test out some of the youngsters by giving them game time alongside the senior players. But who could that include?
The likes of Rowan Liburd, Aaron Kuhl, Niall Keown, Tariqe Fosu, Jack Stacey and Andrija Novakovich have all been involved in senior action over the last two seasons, although none have managed to hold down a starting spot.
Plus, you can point to Craig Tanner, Dominic Samuel and Sean Long as examples of players out on loan who'll hope to return to the Mad Stad in the summer and kick on their development at a higher level.
Further down the pecking order, players like Harry Cardwell, Rob Dickie, Samuel Fridjonsson and the highly-rated Josh Barrett will surely play a part in the future, but next season could come too soon for them.
Whoever does end up catching McDermott's eye (if anyone), it's great to see the youth being talked up as viable players for next season. Under Nigel Adkins and Steve Clarke, we've seen Jordan Obita, Jake Cooper, Michael Hector and Aaron Tshibola break through and become key players for the first team. Here's to that tradition being continued.