Mixed news for Coppell
By Phil Jackson. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Boss Steve Coppell has received mixed news about his injured party of Reading players.
Captain Graeme Murty hobbled out of Saturday's controversial 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea with hamstring injuries to both legs.
He missed both of Scotland's Euro 2008 qualifiers over the international break, and has now been ruled out for up to three weeks.
Despite the fact he now looks set to miss the Premiership fixtures against Arsenal and Portsmouth, as well as the Carling Cup trip to Liverpool, The Royals have defended their decision to pass Murty fit at the weekend.
"You can't necessarily say he came back too early because he trained all week and had no problems," club physio Jon Fearn told the Reading Evening Post.
Striker Dave Kitson is also some way off a return after damaging a knee in the opening game of the season, although Coppell remains hopeful about the player's future.
"He is still weeks off. Progress is painfully slow. Joe Cole only came back on Saturday after doing his knee ligament in the first week of pre-season and he still feels it," Coppell stated.
"It hangs around like a toothache but we are still hoping Dave won't have an operation."
Hungarian Under-21 international Peter Mate is meanwhile set to undergo an operation on his problem knee injury.
The on-loan defender from Debrecen suffered a cruciate knee ligament tear in a reserve game for The Royals, but has remained with the Madejski medics despite it looking likely to have wrecked his season.
"For Peter to stay here and be under our care shows his determination to come back as quickly as possible and make an impact before the end of the season," Coppell added.
While midfielder Simon Cox remains sidelined with his broken ankle, American winger Bobby Convey should return for the Royals' game against Arsenal on Sunday as the Premiership newcomers look to maintain their fine start to the season so far.