Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic has confirmed that as thing stand, the Royals are set to return to action on Monday against Derby County.

Reading's last three fixtures - against Luton Town, Peterborough, and Fulham - were all postponed due to a Covid outbreak at the club but Paunovic stated in his press conference on Friday that everything is on track for Monday's clash with Derby.

"We don’t have any more ongoing (cases) at the moment as of today," the Serbian said. "The last test was today and we don’t have any more cases.

"We have a lot of players coming back from Covid, recovering well. Some of them had more serious symptoms, some of them less. But Covid didn’t hit us in one wave at the same time so we have different groups of players coming back at different times and recovering from their own individual symptoms. Therefore we needed to postpone the game against Fulham but at this point the game is on for Monday.

Reading Chronicle: The Reading players prepare to take to the pitch against West Brom. Image by: JasonPIXThe Reading players prepare to take to the pitch against West Brom. Image by: JasonPIX

"We expect the guys who went out of quarantine and some guys who were still testing positive after six/seven days - this is the new regulation - not everyone at the same time but we are slowly recovering the group.

"We all know that we are living in a new world, in very challenging times. Unfortunately Covid is out there, it’s a threat for everyone. We were one of the first teams to raise our hand and say we couldn’t cope with it when it hit us. But it’s the time we are living and nobody - even the vaccinated - are fully protected. It helps but what I’m trying to say is that it’s almost an inevitable situation."

Speaking of the Covid vaccine, Paunovic said that the club has held a series of meetings with the payers and staff in order to educate them on the benefits and potential issues with it.

"We held several meetings with our health experts and doctors and people who are athorised to talk about the vaccine, both the pros and cons because the vaccine does have minor cons. This is the encouragement we give in our club and now it’s up to individuals to decide what they want to do about it.

"We can not force anyone and also we must note that being vaccinated doesn’t stop you from getting infected. It helps to have minor symptoms and to recover quicker and that’s probably one of the main pros. But again, it’s an individual thing."

Reading sit two points and one place ahead of the relegation zone ahead of Monday's hugely important clash with Derby County who are still marooned to the foot of the table despite winning their last three matches.