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Available again Scowen eyes Reading return

JOSH Scowen is looking to reclaim his place in Ian Holloway’s starting XI when QPR take on Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Friday.

The combative midfielder missed our 2-2 draw at Fulham after he fell ill 24 hours before the game.

Scowen, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, was taken to hospital with suspected appendicitis before further tests revealed he was suffering from a viral infection.

And now the former Barnsley man is back to full training and eager to be involved against the Royals.

“It wasn’t nice to hear I had suspected appendicitis but thankfully it wasn’t that and I’m fit now and ready to go on Friday,” he said.

Scowen has featured in 35 of our 38 league games since his summer move from Oakwell, and he admitted: “I love playing football and hate missing games – I want to play as many as I can.

“It’s part of football though and you have to accept that you’re going to miss games from time to time. Thankfully this hasn’t led to me being out for long.”

Ryan Manning recently returned to the first-team fold and scored in our 3-1 win at Aston Villa before excelling in our draw at Craven Cottage, while Jordan Cousins has also played his part in midfield.

“It’s good to have competition for places,” Scowen said. “It keeps you on your toes and it can only make you improve, and it makes those wanting to get into the side ahead of you improve as well.

“The lads who have come in recently did very well but I am hoping I can get my place back in the side for Friday, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Scowen will be hoping whoever plays can help Rangers extend their unbeaten run to five games as they look to finish the season strongly.

“The last four performances have been very good and it’s definitely given us something that we can build on,” he added.

“Every game we are looking to get more and more confident in what we can do. The gaffer has said there is more to come from this group and I think he’s right.

“We are aiming to finish as high up the table as we can. We are not going to rest on our laurels and think the season has finished.”

Paul Clement, son of R’s legend Dave Clement, will be taking charge of Reading for the first time when the QPR visit Berkshire, and Scowen admits that makes the opposition difficult to prepare for.

“It’s hard to know what to expect,” he said. “We are used to them looking to play nice football from the back but the new manager could come in and completely change that.

“We will focus on our strengths and what we do well.”

I’m fit now and ready to go on Friday.

Josh Scowen