Reading FC goalkeeper Karl Hein is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a serious injury following a slip at home.

The on-loan Arsenal shot-stopper has started five Championship matches for Reading since arriving in Berkshire last month but he will now be out for the foreseeable future.

“We lost our goalkeeper - for the rest of the season,” interim Royals boss Paul Ince said after his side’s 4-1 defeat to Blackpool on Saturday.

“I haven’t got much detail really. He fell, in his house, I think he’s took the ligament off the bone in his thumb. They’re talking 4-6 weeks if he doesn’t need surgery and two months if he does.”

Hein’s signing was highly questioned when he joined in the winter transfer window but he’s grown into the role as first-choice goalkeeper ahead of academy graduate Luke Southwood.

Reading Chronicle: Luke Southwood started on Saturday in Hein's absence. Image by: JasonPIXLuke Southwood started on Saturday in Hein's absence. Image by: JasonPIX

Southwood, who returned to the starting XI for Saturday’s loss at Bloomfield Road will now have a huge opportunity as Reading’s de facto starting goalkeeper.

Southwood has made 23 Championship appearances this season, keeping three clean sheets. Reading have conceded a league-high 67 goals this campaign so far, capitulating in the final moments at Blackpool as the Royals succumbed to a slightly harsh 4-1 thumping.

While Ince initially said that Hein will miss the rest of the season, a 4-6 week timeline (if surgery isn’t required) could see the Estonian return for the final six or so games of the season. Surgery would likely mean the end of his first stint in professional football.