PAUL Clement has been handed a major boost ahead of today's Championship survival six-pointer as he welcomes Tommy Elphick back to the first-team squad.

Defender Elphick, on loan from Aston Villa, picked up an injury on his Royals debut which has seen him ruled out of action for more than three months.

But boss Clement confirmed the Championship veteran is available for selection ahead of this afternoon's tie against Ipswich (3pm ko).

What's more, Reading can secure their position in the second tier with a win over managerless Tractor Boys.

Clement said: "Tommy Elphick will more than likely be available for selection.

"We've reflected on the Sheffield Wednesday game. We have to move on quickly.

"If we win today then we are safe.

"There's no pressure or nerves [going into the match]. There is a realism about the stage that we are at.

"We've had a couple of missed opportunities in the last two games. Now we have to move on and focus on Ipswich."

Young striker Sam Smith will be pushing for a place in the squad after his sensational hat-trick for the Under 23s in midweek.

Clement watched the game and said he was pleased with Smith's performance.

Meanwhile, Paul McShane, Callum Harriott, Garath McCleary, and Jordan Obita all miss out.

Leandro Bacuna and Tyler Blackett will also have to settle for a place in the stands through suspension.

Blackett was the latest Royal to be show red after he lashed out during Royals' 3-0 defeat at Hillsborough.

It was the fourth red card Reading have received since Clement took over from Jaap Stam.

Speaking about discipline, he concluded: "I think we can divide the red cards up.

"The first two can happen at any time at any team.

"The other two are clearly very different, they are more disappointing. I addressed each situation on its merit."

The Reading Chronicle will bring you live coverage of today's match from 3pm.