CONOR Lawless celebrated his 17th birthday by signing his first professional contract with Reading FC.

The teenage striker put pen to paper recently following a string of impressive displays for Royals’ Academy sides.

Lawless made his Under 18 debut two years ago when he was just 15 years old. He became a regular last season and has impressed this term, with his superb solo goal earning Royals a point against Tottenham Hotspur in the U18 Premier League.

However, Royals suffered a 1-0 home defeat in the league to Swansea City at Hogwood Park last weekend.

David Dodd’s side hope to bounce back this Saturday when they host Southampton (11am).

Reading FC Under 16s

READING FC were eliminated from their Under 16 Premier League National qualifying group on Saturday.

Six regional groups of four teams, with the winners plus two highest-placed runners up reaching the finals when a number of Europe’s top clubs also enter.

Reading were in the same group as Southampton, Chelsea and hosts Brighton and began with a 2-0 victory against the Saints.

They lost the next 1-0 to Chelsea after starting with an outfield player in goal due to injury, but had one foot in the finals when they took the lead against Brighton.

However, Seagulls equalised from the last play of the match to end Reading’s progress.

Royals’ youth coach, Martin Dean stated: “The fluency of our attacking play was as good as I’ve seen in my 12 years at Reading.”

Reading FC Under 23s

READING FC Under 23s were held to a 0-0 draw by West Bromwich Albion in Premier League 2.

Danny Loader, who is being watched by Chelsea, and fit-again Callum Harriott went close in the early stages before Ben House hit the post at Adams Park.

Oliver Burke rattled the crossbar for the visitors who then had goalkeeper Alex Palmer to thank for making three vital saves to deny Teddy Howe, Josh Barrett and House.

Reading host Southampton at Madejski Stadium this Saturday (1pm).

Reading U23: Southwood, Howe, Medford-Smith, East, Osho (C), McIntyre, Barrett, Sidoel (Coleman 86), House, House, Loader, Harriott (Frost 75). Subs not used: Driscoll, Holmes, Liddle. Booked: Osho, House.