If Reading weren't already on the hunt for a new striker, they most certainly will be now as it has been confirmed that Deniss Rakels will be sidelined for up to five months according to GetReading.
The 24 year old was taken off the pitch on a stretcher against MK Dons on Tuesday with the game just 16 minutes old, and went straight to hospital for an x-ray. Jaap Stam was left frustrated by the injury:
“I think it was a bad challenge on his ankle and we're not sure if it's very bad. It's a pity if he's injured and is going to be out for a long time. I think it was a tackle.”
And then in a press conference on Wednesday, assistant manager Andries Ulderink explained:
“He's seen the specialist and the chances of his ankle being fractured are quite big. We are waiting for final confirmation but normally you are out for a long time."
Those fears seem to have been confirmed today, and the likelihood is we won't see Rakels, who has three goals in 14 league appearances for the Royals, back on the pitch until February.
Buying a replacement
Rakels' injury leaves Yann Kermorgant, Joseph Mendes (neither of whom have particularly impressed so far) and Dominic Samuel (himself returning from injury) as the only strikers left in the squad. However, Stam isn't sure whether funds will be available to sign a new player up, speculating:
"We're always looking for players who can score goals. Deniss has talent and quality. He's very quick, he can get past players easily and he can score goals. We will see how long it will take for Deniss to regain his fitness, but maybe we can do something, yes. But it's not really up to me.
“You want quality players in your squad and if someone drops out you have to look at it, but I don't know if it's possible. We've brought in Callum Harriott, Joseph Mendes and Roy Beerens and we are always looking for players of a certain ability who can score goals.
“Dennis had that quality so we need to see if we can do anything.”
Other injury news
Liam Kelly, who also had to be stretchered off against MK Dons after a clash of heads with Jake Cooper, should be available for the trip to South Wales.
However, Ulderink confirmed that Cooper would miss the game, which also comes too soon for Yakou Meite who is recovering from an ankle injury. The Dutchman told the press:
“Jake Cooper also has a swollen ankle, so it's difficult to say about the damage until the swelling goes down,” explained Ulderink. “But I think Saturday isn't gong to work for him.
“A few other players had cramp, but they're all good. However, Yakou Meite still has a problem with his ankle so there is a question mark over him.”