Royals hopeful of Harper deal

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Reading are confident that influential playmaker James Harper will sign a new contract with the club.

Harper's deal is set to expire in the summer and the 25-year-old has been linked with Dutch giants Feyenoord.

The midfielder has appeared in all 34 of Reading's league games this season as The Royals have steamrollered their way to the top of the Championship table.

Reading director of football Nick Hammond believes the former Arsenal player will commit his future to the club in the coming weeks.

Hammond said: "We've been speaking with James' representatives this week and I am confident we are making progress.

"It has been going on for some time now but we are hopeful of bringing discussions to a conclusion soon."

He added: "James has been with us for several years, he is a vital part of what we are trying to build here, and it is important to everyone at the football club that we try and keep players such as James."

Meanwhile, Hammond revealed the club have no immediate plans to open discussions with any other out of contract players.

Defender Chris Makin and midfielders John Oster and Stephen Hunt all have deals that expire in the summer, but Hammond explained that talks will not start with the trio until the end of the season.

"We have not entered into talks with anyone else as yet, it's been a busy period for us with games coming thick and fast and those discussions will take place a bit further down the line when we know where we will be playing next season."