READING FC boss Jaap Stam is confident next week’s FA Cup replay against Stevenage will not over-stretch his squad.

Royals could only draw 0-0 at League Two Boro on Saturday and now face a replay at Madejski Stadium next Tuesday night (8pm ko).

The third-round tie at Lamex Stadium was not without controversy after Royals skipper Paul McShane appeared to snub travelling fans – only to later issue a heartfelt apology.

Stam’s men will now be looking to make home advantage count next week, with the winners of the replay set for a trip to either Sheffield Wednesday or Carlisle United, who also drew 0-0 at the weekend.

“You want to do things as quickly as you can but sometimes it is not always possible,” confessed Stam.

“Stevenage worked very hard as well and showed their quality. They will make it difficult for a lot of teams if they play like that week-in-week-out.

“So we play another game which is not a problem to be honest. Everyone wants to play games we’re still in the FA Cup and hopefully we can get the right result at home.”

Stam’s men endured a tough afternoon at Lamex Stadium and relied on stand-in keeper Anssi Jaakkola to save their blushes on a number of occasions.

Reading Chronicle:

Liam Kelly shows his frustration in the 0-0 draw with Stevenage.

And the Dutchman, whose side have not win in seven matches in all competitions, admitted it was a difficult afternoon in Hertfordshire.

“It was a tough game, but that’s what we expected over here,” he said. “We saw Stevenage play and how they set up. They are quite direct and have quality in their squad.

“We knew they would make it difficult for us by playing balls up front and trying to chase us. We needed to dig deep and work very hard not to concede.

“You could say we could have shown more quality on the ball, but I was pleased with our workrate and defence.

“When a lower league club plays at home they want a result. They put a lot of effort into it and we knew what to expect.

“We had to match them or work even harder. But even that can be difficult at times and you just need to keep battling.

“It was important for us not to concede so now, of course we have another game.”

Stam’s options up front were severely limited on the day after striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson pulled out through illness.

Therefore, Stam used Garath MCleary as a makeshift striker and named last season’s top-scorer Yann Kermorgant on the bench as a precaution.

“He was ill so we couldn’t use him. He would have been an option after the previous game but sometimes you are forced into these changes.”

Bodvarsson is now expected to make a full recovery before Saturday’s Championship clash at Nigel Adkins’ Hull City (3pm ko).

“We need to get players fit while some others have little injuries,” added Stam. “We need to get them back into the squad to prepare for the Hull game so we can get a result.”

Meanwhile, Reading FC U18s lost 2-0 to Chelsea U18s at Hogwood Park on Saturday.

A Marcel Lavinier strike and Conor Gallagher penalty secured the win for the Blues after Royals had been denied a penalty of their own in the early stages following a foul on Joe Wilson.

Reading U18: Desbois, Wilson, Elva-Fountaine, Nditi, Balogun, Buchanan, Pendlebury, Simmo, Nevers (Obamakinwa 64), Lawrence, Stevens (Wallace 46). Subs not used: Hillson, Hansen, Pemberton.

Chelsea U18: Ziger, Lamptey, Panzo, Guehi, Lavinier, Gallagher, Gilmour (Brown 63), Familio-Castillo, Anjorin (Mola 83), Uwakwe, Redan (McEachran 63). Subs not used: Lewis, Semeu.