Date:Friday January 26 2007
Colossal Royal Ibrahima Sonko is unsure about when he can play for Reading again after having an operation to repair damaged cartilage in his right knee yesterday.
The powerful Reading defender suffered the injury after falling awkwardly in the first half of the recent 3-1 win over Neil Warnock`s Sheffield United.
Ex-Rangers and Scotland player Ally McCoist once famously returned to playing in less than two weeks after keyhole surgery to remove torn cartilage.
Rehabilitation, though, usually takes between one and two months, dependent upon where the cartilage is torn, the size of the tear and how much is removed by the surgeon.
A statement from Reading said that Sonko`s progress will be monitored by the club`s medical staff in the next few weeks, adding, "It is too early at this stage to ascertain how long he will be out of action."
Dave Kitson, who was injured in the warm-up before last Saturday`s game against the Blades, underwent a scan yesterday which confirmed he had suffered a minor thigh strain.
The 27-year-old striker is doubtful for this Saturday`s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Birmingham City but should recommence full training next week.
He has an outside chance of being fit for the Premiership game against Wigan at the Madejski Stadium next Tuesday.
Defender Nicky Shorey is now back in full training after missing last Saturday`s victory due to a minor bout of food poisoning.
Brynjar Gunnarsson (hamstring) could return at St Andrew`s but Kevin Doyle (also hamstring) is out for around a month.
With Sonko sidelined, Royals boss Steve Coppell is even more desperate to land more defensive cover.
He has had a £100,000 bid turned down for Cork City`s Alan Bennett.
Reading have doubled their offer to around £200,000, but Cork are holding out for closer to £300,000 for the 25-year-old centre back.
Reading`s director of football Nicky Hammond said, "I had a discussion with Cork yesterday. They have had more than one written offer now and I am hoping we can do business. I read the player`s comments and he seems keen, but Cork are reluctant to lose him."
Reading have also made an enquiry for Luton Town`s central defender Leon Barnett and are waiting to hear if Colchester United are willing to sell right-back Greg Halford for around £1.5million.
The U`s want £4million for the versatile 22-year-old, but the Royals won`t pay that as he is out of contract in the summer and will be valued by a transfer tribunal.
Despite concerns over Kitson`s fitness and the fact that Doyle is out of action for around a month, Coppell is not desperate to bolster his front line.
Hammond added, "The situation hasn`t changed. Kevin is making good progress and Shane Long was exceptional on Saturday."
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