It must have been pretty darn satisfying for Jaap Stam to have something positive to talk about to the media last night. After weeks of frustrations with injuries, protracted transfers and underwhelming results, Stam’s team finally answered a few critics with a hard fought win over Aston Villa.
While he covered plenty of thoughts on the game itself, one question put to Jaap concerned the possible return of Shane Long to the club, after bookmakers slashed the odds of Reading bringing him back. Sadly, at least as far as Stam’s willing to tell us, there’s nothing in it.
The Dutchman told BBC Radio Berkshire that the speculation was ‘new to him’ to either he’s just being coy or it’s idle transfer chatter. Let’s hope he’s just saving us the surprise right?
However, in the same interview, the Reading boss did confirm he’s still after a defender, midfielder and striker so we could be in for an interesting couple of weeks before the deadline.
In other news, Stam provided updates on some of the injured players. As reported by The Wokingham Paper & TTE Podcast Extra Co-Host Tom Crocker.
Stam says Bodvarsson is "couple of weeks away" while Harriott is also outside running but has "more work to do". #ReadingFC— Tom Crocker (@TomJCrocker) August 15, 2017
Stam - Jordan Obita is working the physios but is not in full training yet #ReadingFC— Tom Crocker (@TomJCrocker) August 15, 2017
So mixed news on that front but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel for all three players mentioned. Once that trio returns, we’ll be down to Yann Kermorgant as the sole senior player in the treatment room, a far cry from our opening day injury crisis.
‘We fully deserved it’
On Tuesday’s win itself, Stam told the club’s website...
“We had those moments last season a few times as well!” said Royals gaffer, about the late edge-of-the-seat stuff as the Royals dug in to win. “We talk about making progress and we try to avoid these moments… but the players worked very, very hard. We had a lot of possession and created a lot of opportunities to score.
“We scored two great goals and could have scored a lot more – and maybe should have done as well. And in doing that we didn’t give a lot of opportunities away. There was one incident in the first few minutes when we lost the ball and they went through, and Vito Mannone was very important in making that save.
“But overall in the game, we deserved to win it in how we played and with the amount of opportunities that was made.
“Towards the end you always know that the opposition need to do something. And with the quality that they have, it is logical that our players will get tired as well and give bigger spaces away than in the beginning of the game.
“When they played balls into the box with the physique that they have, they can make it difficult for us. But all in all we are very happy with the result and how we played.
“It is a big compliment for the team and what they have done. We needed the three points – it wasn’t going to be easy against a big club like Villa, but in how we played, we deserved it.
“Everybody wants to win every game. We could and should have won last weekend as well, but we didn’t. This game was very important for us and the belief of the team and the players, to get the win. In the way that we played, we fully deserved it.”
So there you have it. We’ll get the very latest news and developments ahead of Saturday’s trip to Deepdale on Friday’s Tilehurst End Podcast Extra.