ASSISTANT manager Andy Crosby admits Reading FC's attempts to strengthen their squad are likely to go right down to the wire.

After bringing in Wayne Bridge, Royston Drenthe and Danny Williams, Royals have so far hit a dead end with their efforts to sign a striker.

They missed out on both Charlie Austin and Gary Hooper while Nigel Adkins has played down rumours of a move for Southampton hitman Rickie Lambert.

The latest forward to be linked with a move to the Madejski is Joseph Akpala, who has been training with Royals this week.

The 26-year-old has been told that he can leave current club Werder Bremen after finding the net just once in 21 appearances last season.

Crosby told the Chronicle he has 'no idea' when a decision will be made on Akpala's future but expects Royals' transfer dealings to continue through to the close of the window on September 2.

"It will probably go down to the wire, it usually does," he said. "There are a lot of expectations and prices from clubs at the moment and when it gets down to the last day those can change.

"Akpala has been with us for a few days and we have had a look at him, but I don't know when a decision will be made.

"We are trying to strengthen the squad, with games coming up soon every Saturday and Tuesday you need to have a strong squad."

Royals are one of eight sides in the Championship yet to lose a game this season following draws with Bolton Wanderers and Watford and a win over Ipswich Town.

This Saturday they face another unbeaten team in Blackpool, who were only denied a third successive win by an injury-time Middlesbrough equaliser last weekend.

Crosby expects the Seasiders to provide a physical test but is targeting a first clean sheet of the campaign.

"Clean sheets are something we talked about a lot in pre-season and that is what is going to get us into the top two, we are working hard on being difficult to score against," he said.

"Blackpool are quite a big side, we can expect a lot of high balls into the box and we will have to defend well. But they also have one or two really talented players and it's up to us to impose our style on the game and play to our strengths."

Blackpool will be without injured winger Tom Ince while Jimmy Kebe could be in contention for the trip to Bloomfield Road after making a return to training


The winger has been out of action for nearly six months but could be included in the squad this Saturday.

Jason Roberts has also been back on the training ground but is not ready to return to action.