Reading boss Veljko Paunovic is optimistic that his side’s coronavirus outbreak is under control as the Royals prepare to return to action against Derby.

Paunovic has confirmed no new cases ahead of his side’s first match since their defeat at West Brom on December 11, with a series of Covid-enforced postponements wiping out their festive programme.

Most of those who were stricken by the virus are understood to have emerged from isolation and will be considered for the crucial relegation clash.

Junior Hoilett could return to the starting line-up after a hamstring injury while Andy Yiadom also hopes to have shrugged off the minor injury that kept him out against the Baggies.

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Resurgent Derby hope to take another stride on their unlikely survival mission as they target their fourth win in succession.

Boss Wayne Rooney will have to cope without defender Graeme Shinnie who is ruled out due to a positive Covid test.

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Colin Kazim-Richards hopes to have done enough to earn a starting berth after coming off the bench to score the winner in his second consecutive match at Stoke.

The Rams head into the game just four points adrift of second-bottom Barnsley and harbouring renewed hope of a remarkable push to safety.