READING FC are ready to stand their ground over Brighton & Hove Albion's pursuit of star man Liam Moore.

Boss Paul Clement insisted he is determined to keep the 25-year-old at Madejski Stadium following mounting speculation linking Moore with a move to the Premier League outfit.

Moore returned to pre-season training at Hogwood Park on Monday, but reports have surfaced suggesting Abion are close to luring the centre-back to Amex Stadium.

But Reading Chronicle sources say Royals are holding out for £15m for the highly-rated centre-back, who joined from Leicester City in 2016 for a bargain £1.5m.

Clement said: “The club don't want to sell Liam. We don't want to sell any centre-back. Hopefully that will be the case.

“Liam is a really good player. He did really well all last season and in the eight games that I was here and he will be a big part of us moving forward.”

However, 46-year-old Clement admitted Royals have options in mind should Royals' Chinese owners choose to sell Moore, subject to an acceptable bid coming in.

It is thought that former Aston Villa loanee Tommy Elphick leads the list of defensive candidates who could potentially replace Moore.

Clement already has fit again skipper, Paul McShane, Tiago Ilori and new signing John O'Shea available in central defence.

Clement confessed: “If you lose any of the centre-backs, whether it’s Moore or the other three, I always like to have four centre-backs fit and available.

“If you have three it’s difficult to operate because if you get an injury you’re in trouble.

“There are recruitment targets we have that we want to bring in as soon as possible.

“You always have to be ready in case another club comes in with a bid that the owners feel is too good to turn down, whether he is for sale or not for sale.

“You have to be ready to bring someone in as a replacement.”

Moore scooped Royals' Player of the Year gong last season.

He has made 96 appearances for Reading so far, scoring four goals.

Reading are building up to their first pre-season friendly this Saturday when they travel to non-league Eastleigh (12.30pm ko).

Tickets for the game at Silverlake cost £7 adults and £5 concession, while Under 7s go free.

They can be bought on the day or by calling 02380 613361.