Paul Clement has talked up Danny Loader’s chances of first team football at Reading FC – but admits several strikers are standing in his way.

Loader, who turned 18 two weeks ago, has been in superb form for club and country this season.

The ex-Leighton Park School pupil scored twice for England Under 19s during the international break and has netted five time in five games for Royals’ Under 23s this season.

Reading supporters have been calling on Clement to give Academy graduate Loader a chance in the first-team.

And Clement has not ruled it out.

“It's possible he will be involved,” he said. “It's normal if a player is tearing it up and scoring goals at U23 and international level then he has given himself a great chance.

“I spoke to him at the start of the season and told him that if he’s going to make that step up to the first team you need to be outstanding at U23 level.

“It's very early days but we have started to see some good signs and he has to keep it going.”

However, he added: “Any player who moved up from the Under 23s has to be ready. There’s no point coming up just to train, he’ll want to come up and stay there.

“There is competition in that position as well with Baldock, Bodvarsson, McNulty and Meite.

“So Danny just has to keep going like all the U23 players, take their opportunities and show they can be consistent at that level.”

Reading U23s are back in Premier League 2 action tonight when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford (7pm ko).

Reading Chronicle:

Reading boss Paul Clement.

Meanwhile, Royals return from a two-week international break with a trip to Preston North End tomorrow (3pm ko).

Clement spoke to the media yesterday and gave the lowdown on the clash plus the latest injury news.

On injuries:

“David Meyler didn't train on Thursday due to a minor issue which we're looking in to. We'll see if he's okay for the weekend.

“Everything is fine with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

“Garath McCleary played 40 minutes in an in-house practice match last week and this week he played 60 minutes against Portsmouth in a training ground game.

“He's getting up the minutes so it's positive. He has been out for such a long time but he's now getting much closer to match fitness.

“Dave Edwards had a MCL injury and it's not moving along as quick as we hoped. He's not running and still having medical treatment.

“Jordan Obita had a really good week in Philadelphia and he continues on his rehab. I hope he will join in training at the end of next month.

“Adrian Popa rolled his ankle last week and Callum Harriott has travelled with the U23s to play Manchester United.”

Reading lie bottom of the Championship with no wins from six games, while Preston are 19th with one victory under their belt.