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Stam Expects Midfielder To Return Against Brighton

Last night's result wasn't the one we wanted but there was some good news on the injury front

Manchester United v Reading - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Last night's 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield certainly dented spirits among the fanbase and you could tell Jaap Stam himself was hurting from a heartbreaking late defeat to a play-off rival. Yet among his frustrations, the Reading manager did have some positive news on the injury front as we head into another big game this weekend against Brighton live on Sky Sports.

We'd already heard that Joey van den Berg was close to a return to the squad but last night saw Stam confirm to BBC Radio Berkshire's Tim Dellor that the Dutchman was back in training and that he expected to have Joey available for Saturday's trip to the South coast.

Whether Joey comes straight back into the side remains the key question. Reece Oxford missed last night's game due to illness but with Paul McShane available on the bench, it's hard to imagine seeing van den Berg waltz straight back into the team. Then again, he's clearly a player that Stam trusts, so the Reading boss might decide he wants a bit more bite for what promises to be one of, if not the toughest game of the season so far. It's not quite a cup final but defeat would sent us 11 points behind Brighton, with Chris Hughton's side also having a game in hand, almost certainly ending our faint automatic promotion chances.

So would you like to see him straight back in the lineup or is Joey best left on the bench for this one?