Third-choice goalkeeper Stuart Taylor will again take his place between the posts for the visit of former club Aston Villa.
Taylor made his first Barclays Premier League appearance since 2008 in last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Everton after Adam Federici sprained an ankle.
Federici is still at least a week away while Jimmy Kebe is also a doubt for the relegation clash.
Pavel Pogrebnyak serves the second of his three-game ban while fellow striker Jason Roberts (hip) and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) are still absent.
Reading skipper Jobi McAnuff has warned he is not prepared to let his Barclays Premier League dream go willingly.
McAnuff has had to wait until this season, and after his 30th birthday, to finally taste life in the top-flight of English football.
In the preceding years McAnuff, who began his career at Wimbledon, has endured more than his fair share of near misses.
The midfielder suffered a hat-trick of play-off exits with Crystal Palace, Watford and Reading - before last season leading his side to the npower Championship title and, most importantly, the Premier League.
``I've really enjoyed it, it's a challenge,``.
``Like with anything in life if things come too easy then do you really appreciate it as much?
``Of course it is a difficult season but it's the best league in the world.
``From our point of view we've been written off before the season even started by pretty much everybody outside Reading Football Club.
``That drives me on.''
Despite being parked in the bottom three for the majority of the season, Reading could go clear of danger with victory.
Reading were faced with a similar scenario a fortnight ago, only to suffer a 3-0 reverse at Wigan and left the Madejski Stadium to jeers from the home fans.
This time around McAnuff is keen to play down the fans' expectations - which have only been heightened by a fixture list that shows away trips to Manchester United and Arsenal next up.
``The extra significance that people are putting on that outside the game - it's understandable given we're playing Villa and they're right next to us in the standings,'' he said.
``At the end of the day all we can do is go out there and try and win the game. There is only three points on offer.
``We know we need to perform and get a result. We feel capable of doing that.''
Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph has been ruled out through suspension.
Delph serves a two-game ban after collecting his 10th yellow card of the campaign during Monday's 1-0 home defeat against Manchester City.
Villa boss Paul Lambert is hopeful captain Ron Vlaar will recover from the calf injury that has ruled him out of the last two games, but striker Darren Bent (foot) is again set to miss out.
Paul Lambert has challenged his players to show courage and ``play the game and not the occasion''.
Villa are in the bottom three and approaching a vital week in their battle to stay in the top flight with a home match to follow against bottom placed QPR next weekend.
But Lambert senses no fear in his squad about the battle to survive and admits he thrives on the pressure.
He said: ``You'd like to think everyone has got fight in them to win a game and it's okay to be aggressive.
``But it will take a lot of courage. You need a lot of courage to take the ball as well. You need to go and play football and not get caught up with the occasions.
``In the last few performances, we certainly don't look like a team that is playing under pressure.
``We will try and play the game and not the occasion. If you get caught up in the occasion it can certainly hurt you - but we are not lacking in confidence or any courage to compete with teams.
``I do believe we will be fine if keep playing the way we are.''
Lambert added: ``If you win these two games, you are right up there but a lot of teams will be saying that. We are certainly playing well enough to win them.
``The situation remains so tight between the middle and the bottom part of the table.
``I feel we've got some momentum to be honest. The confidence is there. I don't need to lift them. I can see it in training and the last few games.
``It doesn't look like a team that is frightened of the situation. That is the pleasing thing.''