Coppell - Royals are vulnerable

Reading boss accepts star assets could be heading for Madejski exit

Coppell: Braced for departures

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Reading manager Steve Coppell accepts that he is 'vulnerable' to the approaches of Premier League clubs in the battle to keep hold of his star assets this summer.

The Royals suffered Premier League relegation on the final day of last season in only their second season in the top flight.

And having returned to the Championship, it is expected that the likes of Nicky Shorey, James Harper, Emerse Fae, Dave Kitson and Stephen Hunt will all find new homes for the start of the next campaign.

Coppell insists he will not be forced to sell, but the Royals boss is under no illusions that he will struggle to keep members of his squad at the Madejski Stadium.

Pressure

"We are not under pressure to sell. It's just inevitable that things will change this summer," Coppell told the Reading Evening Post.

"I think we need to move some players on for sure. We may have a situation where we are going to be vulnerable to some of the Premier League boys coming in.

"It's not a good time for us to restrict players going and when Premier League clubs come in, it's hard to resist. It's the right time for some to move on.

"Business nowadays is not done discreetly. Clubs find it increasingly hard to keep things quiet from players and there will be interest in some of them because we have some very good players. We are going to have to be reactive as opposed to proactive."

Secret

Shorey has made no secret of his desire to leave Reading and West Ham had a £4million bid rejected last summer, but Coppell is adamant the defender will only be allowed to leave if the price is right.

"Nicky Shorey has been consistent all year wanting to go, but he can only go if someone wants to buy him," Coppell added.

"You can't really make plans as such yet because you don't know who is going and who is staying.

"Inevitably you will make a decision that you want a player to stay and then a Premier League team will come in for him and he'll go, leaving you open. We need to be flexible.

"As far as I know we haven't had any bids yet but I don't expect anything to happen for another three weeks anyway."