Paunovic confirms Lucas Joao fitness update ahead of FA Cup clash against Luton Town

Reading v Barnsley- Lucas Joao
Reading v Barnsley- Lucas Joao

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic confirmed that Lucas Joao will be fit to play against Luton Town after he was substituted after scoring two goals last weekend at Huddersfield Town.

“Joao is fine, he was just cramping (at Huddersfield) and was able to have a normal week of training,” said Paunovic.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to keep building and competing. It’s a competition for everyone that is very nice to play, it’s very known and popular not only in England but worldwide.

“These are incentives for us to be in good shape and have a god performance, to compete and win the game.”

Despite Joao’s fitness concerns were put to bed, Paunovic hinted that he is likely to rotate the squad for their FA Cup clash away at Luton.

“We are looking for this game as an opportunity for players that have not participated as much, it’s very important to have a competitive team to represent our club in the best possible way,” he continued.

“It’s a good opportunity for those who have been recovering and are looking for challenges where they can excel and recover their form.”

“We are still waiting for the results (covid test), we are nervous as you never know with this. We will know very soon. 

“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 more safe.”

Paunovic also confirmed that he expects Liam Moore and Yakou Meite to return to training and to be available before the end of the month.

“We are looking to recover Lewis Gibson soon, hopefully next week.

“Also Meite and Liam should be ready by the end of this month, we will have to wait for the weeks to come and evaluate it.

“They are heading in the right direction and the team is getting in  good shape moving forward.”

Reading kick off at 12pm at Kenilworth Road in Paunovic’s first ever FA Cup game on Saturday.

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