Jaap Stam has a bit of an injury headache to contend with at the moment, with a number of first team players out of action in recent weeks. Primarily, concerns have been over the lack of a striker - Yann Kermorgant hasn’t played this season, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s campaign has been disrupted, and we don’t know what’s happening with Joseph Mendes (seriously, we don’t hear about him anymore, do we?).
Additionally, the likes of John Swift and Paul McShane have been unavailable, although the duo both featured from the bench against Sheffield United last Saturday.
We now have a double header of home fixtures coming up - the Royals face Middlesbrough on Saturday, before a Tuesday night clash against Nottingham Forest. Speaking to the official site today, Stam seems upbeat about the chances of some absentees getting minutes in those games.
Paul McShane and John Swift
“[They] are doing well – they came in against Sheffield United and played in the second half from the bench. They’re looking good and they’re available for the squad.”
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson
“Jón Daði is still out with an injury and he won’t be available for the squad. We need to assess him and to see what he can do.”
“Yann has been partially back in training. He’s doing well. A lot of people are speaking about Yann and how we need him – of course he has been important for us, but we need to be careful with him as well.
“He needs his time to get back to full fitness and eventually, when he’s very fit, hopefully he can again make a difference.”
There was no mention of Joseph Mendes, Jordan Obita or Callum Harriott, all of whom are long-term absentees.
So... it’s a mixed bag
Jaap Stam seemed to suggest that John Swift and Paul McShane could both start against Middlesbrough on Saturday - they both got minutes at Bramall Lane last weekend, so they should be fit enough for the upcoming XI.
However, it does sound like the Dutchman is playing down the chances of Yann Kermorgant coming back in, doesn’t it? It’s a very non-committal description of where the French forward is in his recovery, but there’s a hint that the manager would prefer to be patient.
If that’s true, I can’t say I disagree with it. Rushing a 35 year-old (he’ll be 36 in November) back into action is not a good idea, regardless of how much we need a striker at the moment. It’s better to give him more recovery time and gradually ease him back into the first team, otherwise we risk another long lay-off.