Coppell: I need injured stars back

The Reading manager, who saw his side consolidate their impressive third place in the Championship with a 1-0 win at home to Stoke this afternoon, confessed that he cannot wait to welcome Forster, Goater and Co back into his starting line-up.

After a run of three games in eight days, Reading's first team stars are feeling rather jaded.

Forwards Shaun Goater and Nicky Forster have been missing for some time due to injury, whilst Andy Hughes has also been out. In addition, a number of first team stars have been carrying minor knocks.

But super striker Dave Kitson, now the Championship's leading scorer, played ninety minutes this afternoon after passing a late fitness test.

The trigger-happy forward bagged his fourth goal in four games to fire the Royals to a narrow victory.

Fellow attacker Dean Morgan, who was today given his first start of the season, set-up Kitson's first half match winner.

Although today's win was pleasing, Reading boss Steve Coppell appeared simply pleased with the fact that his tired team do not have another midweek game coming up.

Speaking after today's game he revealed that he is hoping some of his sidelined stars will be ready to return to first team action soon.

"We are not quite down to the bare bones, but I could do with a couple of players coming back," he admitted.

"We have had three games in a week and it means you end up using players who should not be playing. We did that today (with Dave Kitson) and he scored our winner.

"After our midweek game at Plymouth, Dave's calf swelled up and his foot was black and blue. He was carrying two separate injuries.

"But I asked him on Friday if he wanted to play and he said yes. Tommy Docherty used to ask me 'if it was the cup final tomorrow would you play?'. I didn't need to ask Dave that. He volunteered."

Although the club's worsening injury situation appears to be giving Coppell a few sleepless nights, the Royals boss should sleep easy tonight after seeing his team get back to winning ways.

Reading had lost away at Coventry last weekend - their first defeat in eight games - and only managed a point at Plymouth on Tuesday night.

But victory over the Potters strengthens the club's current third place in the Coca-Cola Championship.