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Reading play host to Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon in their first match since being deducted six points for breaching the EFL’s financial regulations.
The Royals now sit six points adrift of their 13th-placed hosts, who ended a three-game winless streak before the international break.
After weeks of speculation and expectation, Reading were officially docked six points earlier this week, moving them down into 19th position.
The punishment would have come as no surprise to Veljko Paunovic, and the Serbian would have always had in his mind that his squad would need to be in a position to react when it was confirmed.
Before the international break, they showed that they could perform when the chips were down as 18-year-old Jahmari Clarke netted a double to secure a 2-1 victory at Birmingham City.
Paunovic has been forced to call upon many of the club’s academy players this season, a consequence of the restrictions placed on their business in the transfer market.
Andy Carroll has now linked up with the club, the experienced target man handing Reading a different dimension ahead of welcoming Forest to the Madejski Stadium.
Paunovic has acknowledged that Clarke will miss out on a potential start after suffering an ankle injury.
With Carroll only fit enough for a spot among the replacements at best, Paunovic could name an unchanged starting lineup.
Cooper may also take the same approach when naming his Forest XI after a successful switch in system.
However, James Garner and Joe Lolley, potentially for Philip Zinckernagel, are both realistic alternatives if the Forest head coach decides on a fresh face.
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Loic Mbe Soh and Jordi Osei-Tutu both remain on the sidelines.
Reading possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Moore, Dann, Holmes; Yiadom, Laurent, Dele-Bashiru, Rahman; Swift, Ejaria; Puscas
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Spence, McKenna, Worrall, Lowe; Yates, Colback; Johnson, Zinckernagel, Mighten; Grabban