ANSSI Jaakola is ready to fill the void if Vito Mannone is forced to pull out of Reading FC's squad on Saturday, boss Jaap Stam declared.

Mannone will face a late fitness test ahead of this weekend's clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers (3pm) after picking up a hip injury against Derby.

Royals manager Stam is hopeful the Italian shot shopper will be eligible to face the Championship's league leaders, but said number two goalkeeper Jaakola is ready to step up.

"As a manager you have to make a choice," he stressed.

"You need to choose who is going to be your first-choice goalie and who will be second-choice.

"Anssi has performed very well for us in training sessions. He's showed us that he is ready to play if Vito gets an injury or a suspension.

"If Anssi needs to play then he will play well. We're very confident that he can step up and do the job."

Finland international Jaakola, 30, joined Royals from South African outfit Ajax Cape Town in 2016.

His first-team opportunities have been limited to League Cup matches and he has only started six first-team matches.

But Stam continued: "The players are confident in Anssi.

"The goalkeepers need to push each other because everybody wants to play.

"Just because you're the second-choice keeper doesn't mean you're not as good as the first one.

"I make the choices but players always need to push other players in front of them.

"If Vito steps out or he makes mistakes then Anssi needs to step-up and show he can be number one."

Speculation that Mannone could be out for up to 10 weeks was quickly quashed by the former Arsenal and Sunderland goalkeeper.

Stam stressed the 29-year-old has performed well in training and should be fit to face Wolves.

He added: "Vito is feeling okay. He had a slight problem with his hip.

"We think he can play."