Paul Ince says he plans to play three in defense for Reading FC’s big game at Barnsley this weekend.
The Royals head into the clash at Oakwell having picked up four points from a possible six before the international break. The race opened up a five-point gap between them and the relegation zone.
Interim boss Ince has been in charge for six games now, winning two, drawing one and losing three since replacing Veljko Paunovic.
The former England skipper has played mostly with a full-back four so far but has hinted he could turn things around in the final eight games of the season after Scott Dann’s return to fitness.
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The 35-year-old centre-back, who recently signed a new contract with the club, has started just one of the Royals’ last four games after missing the previous 10 with a hamstring injury.
He’s now back and fully fit, presenting Ince with a bit of a dilemma in the coming weeks with Michael Morrison, Tom Holmes and Tom McIntyre all vying for central defensive positions.
“There’s always a possibility to turn things around, whether we go three at the back or keep it as it is,” Ince explained in his pre-Barnsley game press conference. “The guys have done so well in the last two games that we don’t want to change anything, but sometimes you have to.
“But at least we know we have the luxury of going three at the back if we need to with Scott Dann. He missed the Bournemouth game because he has just returned from injury. My plan was that he is playing against Blackburn but due to the performance he did not return to the side.
“That’s what you want – competition and if the players play well they stay in the team. Dann is aware of that. He’s a very good pro and I’m sure he will be needed in the next games. .”
Ince also confirmed in his media chat that Andy Rinomhota has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Yakou Meite may also miss the rest of the campaign with a problem. ankle suffered in Blackburn’s victory. Alen Halilovic is another absentee who has contracted a thigh problem.
There is, however, more positive news regarding left-back Baba Rahman who is set to return to the side after a hamstring injury. And even if he doesn’t return to the UK until the end of the week, striker Junior Hoilett is expected to be part of the Barnsley squad after helping Canada qualify for the World Cup.
“The junior doesn’t come back until Friday morning, so it’s tough,” Ince said. “But he’s going to be buzzing, he’s just qualified for the World Cup which is great for him and his country. It’s a lot of flying so I’ll have a chat with him to see how he feels. He’ll be involved one somehow, though, because we need him.”
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