Naturally, this XI is focussed far more on next season than it is on this one. With Reading effectively having a couple of spare games before the end of 2015/16, we might aswell try a few things out. Due to a number of injuries and suspensions, this team was actually very hard to work out, especially whilst trying to exclude players that won't be here next season.
In goal, I've opted to recall Jonathan Bond. Obviously, Ali Al-Habsi's not done much wrong recently, but I feel that we know all we can about him. In contrast, Bond hasn't played much for McDermott yet, so it'd be nice to see the ex-Watford man get some minutes on the pitch. Sitting on the bench can't be good for his development, can it?
The back four is severely hamstrung by the forced absences of Chris Gunter, Paul McShane and Jordan Obita. Coming in for the full-backs are the same men who did so on Saturday at Leeds United - the lack of a senior back-up right back being a problem that we'll need to address in the summer. At centre half, I'd give the nod to Anton Ferdinand over Michael Hector. Although neither will be here next season, I think Ferdinand's experience would be the better fit for Jake Cooper - who'll need that in a partner if he's to continue his development.
The midfield was very tough to pick, with the likes of Danny Williams, Aaron Tshibola and Hal Robson-Kanu all being unavailable. With a plethora of central midfielders to choose from, I've thrown them all into the mix. Oliver Norwood retains his place at the base of the diamond, with it being a very experimental set-up further forward. George Evans is a bright prospect for the future, whilst Aaron Kuhl could use an opportunity to stake his place in first team contention. Rounding out the list, of all the players available who'll be here next season (not many!), Stephen Quinn would make a good central attacking midfielder.
Up top, I'd recall Yann Kermorgant and partner him with the lively Deniss Rakels. I've little against Matej Vydra, but don't feel that we need to start him, considering he won't be here past the summer. Rakels on the other hand will be, so it'd be good to see him get a start.
Things that Brian could try
To be honest, there aren't really many other options to choose from, unless you include loanees Matej Vydra, Michael Hector, Lucas Piazon and Ola John. Then again, we might see a senior home debut for Josh Barrett or Tennai Watson, or another appearance from soon-to-depart Simon Cox.