Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Adkins fuming after Kebe pulls out of squad

JIMMY KEBE could have played his last game for Reading after declaring himself unfit for the 6-0 drubbing by Peterborough

JIMMY KEBE could have played his last game for Reading after declaring himself unfit for the 6-0 drubbing by Peterborough United in the second round of the Capital One Cup.

The 29-year-old, who has not featured for the Royals since March, was told that he would be expected to play in the clash at London Road on Tuesday night.

Kebe trained on Saturday but returned on Monday morning saying that he was injured and would be unable to play.

Manager Nigel Adkins was less than impressed with the news that the winger withdrew himself from the match-day squad.

He said: “He trained well on Saturday morning, leaves the training ground fully fit and the next thing I know, at 8.30am on Monday morning he declares himself unfit. You read into that what you want.” Kebe has yet to play under Adkins and the Mali international has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League new boys Crystal Palace.

Kebe this week insisted he was fully committed to the club and said he would never refuse to train or play for Reading.

He said he had been fully fit for the first two weeks of the season and came through training on Saturday unscathed before feeling a tweak in his hamstring on Monday.

“I trained on Saturday and felt my hamstring tweak on Monday,” Kebe told BBC Sport. “I told him [Adkins] early that it is better for me to stay calm for a few days.

“We need some points in the league and I felt Saturday was more important than Tuesday [against Peterborough].

“There is no big story. There are lots of things going on but I am available for the manager. It’s up to him. I will never refuse to train or play.”

However reports claimed Palace were in preliminary talks with the Royals over a £750,000 bid for Kebe, with Palace chief Ian Holloway keen to inject some much-needed pace into his squad.

French-born Kebe initially joined the Royals on a two-and-a-half year deal from Ferench club Boulogne in 2008 for an undisclosed fee.

When asked by the BBC whether he would like to sign for Palace, Kebe added: “I said in the summer I wanted to stay in the Premier League.

“Everyone wants to play in the Premier League, but I am still focused on the team. I’ve never said I wanted to leave the club.

“I will not talk about other clubs but yes I want to play in the Premier League but right now I am a Reading player.”

Reading fell behind after just four minutes against Peterborough and never looked like getting back into the game despite the best efforts of recalled goalkeeper Adam Federici to keep the scoreline down.

Lee Tomlin grabbed a hat-trick for the Posh, which included two penalties, to ensure the League One high-flyers caused a major upset. Adkins had rung the changes following his side’s 1-0 defeat to Blackpool in the Championship on Saturday.Just when it looked like ending in stalemate, defender Wayne Bridge was robbed by Blackpool attacker Tom Barkhuizen who then passed Sean Morrison to slot the ball past Alex McCarthy to seal all three points 15 minutes from time.

Reading were left with one win so far this season, a 2-1 victory over Ipswich Town on the opening day, and sit in 13th place in the Championship with five points.

The Royals will look to find a winning formula at Yeovil on Saturday who are struggling with one win and three defeats from four matches.

Adkins is planning talks with Royals owner Anton Zingarevich about strengthening the squad before the end of the transfer window at 11pm on Monday.

But the tycoon and his wife Katsia, 23, are in Russia following the birth of their baby girl last week.

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