Reading concerned with Ezzatolahi’s long absence

Reading face being without Iranian midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi for a further month due to the Asian Cup.

The 22-year-old, who is on a season-long loan switch to Royals from Russian club FC Rostov, has been named in a provisional 35-man squad for the competition.

National team boss Carlos Queiroz will cut that list down to 23 players on Saturday, December 15, ahead of a training camp in Doha, Qatar.

Ezatolahi, who is one of nine midfielders on the provisional list, is currently sidelined for club and country due to a quad injury he picked up while on international duty back in October.

He has played just four times for Reading since joining at the end of August, but caught the eye with some impressive performances in the midfield.

The Iranian is set to be back at full fitness at the end of this month but his involvement in the Asian Cup could prolong his return to Royals.

The competition, which is being held in the United Arab Emirates, takes place between Saturday, January 5 and Friday, February 1.

Reading have four games in that time, along with two either side and a possible FA Cup replay as well.

It means Ezatolahi could miss up to seven games for his club, depending on how far Iran progress in the competition.