Royals receive Harper blow

Midfielder struggling with groin injury

Harper: Out of action

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Reading's promotion push has been dealt a blow with the news that James Harper could miss the rest of the season.

The midfielder is struggling with a groin injury and the Royals are unsure as to how long he will be sidelined for.

Harper missed Easter fixtures against Sheffield United and Blackpool and may not be ready to return before the end of the current campaign.

Royals manager Steve Coppell told the Reading Evening Post: "Harps has been carrying the injury for a couple of weeks and then in a training session last Thursday I saw him side-foot a ball five yards and he was in a fair amount of pain.

"He will definitely miss Saturday's game (against Barnsley) and next Tuesday's (against Derby) and then after that you just don't know.

"Groin problems are the hardest injuries to read because they are so complex. The scan has identified where it is, but the time scale varies from person to person.

"But Harps is a fit player. He has a very clean lifestyle. He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke and football is his life. That is testament to him and should be applauded. If anyone is going to come back quicker then it is Harps as he is 100 per cent dedicated to his preparation and now his rehabilitation."