As he does every week, Brian McDermott spoke to the media in his pre-weekend press conference. Speaking about a variety of topics, the ex-Leeds United manager had some very interesting things to say. Of course, this comes only a few days after on-air handbags between him and BBC Berkshire's Tim Dellor (you can read our piece criticising Dellor here, and backing him here). That came up, alongside injuries sustained mid-week at Middlesbrough, and the gaffer's plans for the summer transfer window. Here are Brian's comments from the press conference - courtesy of Get Reading.
"Hal is not fit. Chris has a groin strain, I wouldn't have thought he would be fit. Jordan Obita is out with a hamstring. Yann's wife is trying to have a baby. We thought it was going to come in the last day or so but she hasn't had it yet and with the game in Leeds there is a strong possibility that he won't be able to travel."
That of course leaves Reading with a few serious injury problems going into the trip to Elland Road. Besides the pre-existing injury to Hal Robson-Kanu, the Royals lack a left back, a striker and their only right back. Andrew Taylor should come in for Obita on the left side of defence, wheres the likes of Deniss Rakels and Simon Cox are options up top. However, replacing Gunter could be a little more tricky. Speaking about that in particular, McDermott said...
"Garath can do it. I've spoken to him about it. With the system we're playing I think Garath could be a strong candidate for that role."
I'd have to agree with that. Of all the possible candidates, McCleary is probably the best suited for replacing Gunter, whilst not having to change formation (Reading could continue their ongoing trial of the diamond). From what I remember, a red card for Alex Pearce against Sheffield Wednesday a few years ago indirectly saw McCleary come to right back, with the Jamaican doing a solid job on that occasion.
Looking ahead to the summer, Brian McDermott will obviously be looking to strengthen his squad. However, judging by his comments today, it seems that he's not 100% sure what his budget will be.
"I need to see what the situation is. We need to sit down with the owners and then go form there. That won't happen until the end of the season."
For any of you worried about how quiet Lady Sasima and co have been in recent weeks, this probably won't reassure you. It doesn't look like Brian McDermott has had too much contact with them over the last month or so, instead having to wait until the end of the campaign to have a chat with them.
The interview with Tim Dellor
Directly after Reading's last-minute loss at Middlesbrough, Brian McDermott spoke to BBC Berkshire's Tim Dellor about the game. The pretty awkward nature of the interview has dominated discussion on social media in the resulting few days. Having another chance to address the situation, McDermott said...
"I spoke to Tim after the game on Tuesday and his opening question was 'same old story' - I reacted off the back of that. I'm not pleased with my reaction and I apologise for it. I don't look back at that interview with any great joy and I will learn from that myself.
Possibly the question could have been phrased a different way. I didn't phrase the question but from my point of view it's not something I would have been proud of myself."
Apart from apologising for his part in what happened, McDermott gives an interesting explanation for his reaction to Tim Dellor. Referencing the phrasing of the first question, he evidently doesn't think that saying 'same old story' was a fair way of opening the interview.
For me, it's fair comment to be unimpressed with what Tim Dellor said. Having just been incredibly frustrated to see his team lose in the last minute - after Matej Vydra had spured a chance down the other end - Dellor saying 'same old story' was always going to get under Brian's skin. Frustrations run very high after losses - was it really any surprise that McDermott reacted to Dellor's barbed question?
What do you make of Brian McDermott's press conference? Does his explanation of the Dellor interview make you sympathise with him more? Leave us a comment below.