Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic hinted that he will be making a number of changes in Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash with Luton Town.

Reading travel to Kenilworth Road on Saturday on the back of a hectic festive schedule and will be hoping to earn a spot in the fourth round.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us. We're certainly looking at this game as an opportunity for the players who haven't participated as much, young or more experiences.

"It's very important to put out a balanced and competitive team in a good shape and have a good performance.

"We will look to put a team out where he can give a prize to our guys that have earned the opportunity to play and for those in the last month or so that have been recovering for these kind of challenges, where they can excel.

"We're thinking of giving opportunities for our academy players and also those we haven't seen so far."

The team selection is dependent, however, on the latest round of Covid-19 testing at the club.

The manager confirmed that Reading is still awaiting the results of the testing.

"Like everyone, we're nervous. We've been doing all of the precautionary things that have been instructed and using our common sense," Paunovic said.

"We are aware of what’s going on and it has increased several weeks ago.

"We’ve had lots of meetings between senior management and the academy, human resource and put a plan together to put measures where we can feel safer.”

"We have a responsibility towards ourselves but also towards our community and the whole world.

"I'm worried for everyone; for the group of people I'm responsible with here, and my family. We're capable of managing things properly.

"Right now, the numbers are not helping and the concern is growing."

Paunovic gave an injury update on club captain Liam Moore, Yakou Meite and Lewis Gibson.

The Serbian boss confirmed that he is hopeful Gibson will be available for selection next week and Moore and Meite by the end of the month.

With the January transfer window now open, Paunovic said that the club have been approached by a number of agents representing free agents, but none of whom have yet been identified as players who could improve the squad in the second half of the season.

The manager also confirmed that any potential incoming arrivals on loan, including the possibility of players from Premier League clubs, are not likely to be completed until the end of the month.

"Some of the targets have other options or other priorities so we have to wait on that.
Especially some of the prospects we detected or had contact from Premier League teams and who might be available."

"We have to wait a bit.

"We have been contacted by agents and players around the world that want to come here.

"But some of them don't understand the Brexit issue and the new requirements. 

"We'll continue with what we have. I do want to be cynical with this but we have to focus on the guys we have.

"It has been a huge investment in mutual understanding and mutual accordance so we are all on the same page and we will benefit from those guys coming back from injury too."

Speaking on the speculation regarding the immediate future of Omar Richards, Tom McIntyre and Michael Olise, the manager would not be drawn on rumours for any of the three, but stated that he has communicated with the players to say he hopes they remain at the club.

"I communicated to both and to the club I would like to have them with us next season, the club is doing everything to put something together to keep them.

"We are very happy with the progress of Omar and the relationship we are building and I'm hopeful we can have both, together with Olise.

"But, we're not going to get involved in the rumours."