Reading FC manager Paul Ince wants to ensure ‘the nucleus’ of a good team stays at the club for next season.

Currently interim manager, talks are underway with the view of the former England international staying on beyond the summer, with a decision likely to be made next week.

However, with 17 players out of contract and less than 10 under contract, next season is already looking like a struggle.


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Despite financial issues plaguing the club, Ince is confident that they can remain in the Championship next season but insists that more bodies need to come into the club.

Speaking ahead of the final day of the season clash against play-off chasing Luton Town, Ince said: “Players contract run until June 30 so we can’t sign anyone until July 1. You can have things in place, but you can’t sign anyone. Our pre-season starts June 20, so you can see where we’re at. You get a lot of players who hold on and wait to see what’s around so it’s a waiting game on some of the players you target.


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“It’s going to be a tough year next year, all hands to the pump, so we need as many fit bodies as we can. We need to look at that from a medical point of, what are we doing right or wrong, how can we make these players get through the season without as many injuries. We need to try and prepare a team, how we want to play, for pre-season, and you can’t do that if you’ve only got seven or eight players.

“You always want to keep a core nucleus of your team, what you don’t want is be in a situation where you’re bringing 15/16 players in as it’s like starting over again. These players know the demands, it’s like me leaving West Ham to join Manchester United. I was going into a dressing room with Mark Hughes and Bryan Robson, they teach you the ropes and let you know the demands needed to stay at this club. This is the same at every club so it’s important for me, if I am the manager, to keep the nucleus so the ones that do come in fall into the right place.”

Key stars such as Tom McIntyre, Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao are all in contract beyond next season, but crucial midfielders Andy Rinomhota, Josh Laurent and John Swift are all looking likely to be playing their final matches for the club at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.


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Two players who have potentially played their last games are Tom Ince and Liam Moore.

Former captain Moore has never played under Ince after being bombed out of the club by previous manager Veljko Paunovic.

Currently out injured, the central defender still has a contract at the Royals until 2023 and may come back into the fold.

Ince continued: “Liam is at the club, but he’s injured so he’s doing stuff with the medical team. He’s our player now so there is a duty of care. He’ll be back next season, I’m not sure of the length of his injury but from what I gather he’s a good player, so we’ll see what happens.

“Whether I stay or not, Reading should do something with him [Tom Ince] as he’s shown since he’s been here what a good player he is. If I’m here or not I’d tell him to sign here as it’s a great place but players out of contract always get offers so that’s something he’d have to consider.

“If I stay, he’s definitely staying, he’s got no choice then”, he joked.