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Injury free McClean is keen for more games

JAMES McClean says he's desperate to get back to full fitness and play a part for club and country after a frustrating absence due to injury, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

And Stephen Kelly is also on the road to recovery with Reading after he was also sidelined by injuries.

Former Derry City man McClean (below) made his first appearance of the season for Wigan in their midweek Championship draw with Huddersfield, having picked up a hamstring injury in pre-season.

That complaint also forced him to miss Ireland's games against Oman and Georgia earlier this month and the winger is glad to be fit again.

"It felt great to be back, it's been a long and frustrating two and a half months, and even though we didn't get a win, it was good to just get back on the pitch," he said after playing a part in a 0-0 draw.

"Watching everyone else train during pre-season and the early stages of the season has been frustrating, so I'm just delighted to be back and desperate to do my bit for the team."

Stephen Kelly has not kicked a ball since he started for Ireland in the 5-1 loss to Portugal in the USA last June. But he played 45 minutes for a Reading XI in a friendly game on Tuesday and will now try to force his way into the side under Nigel Adkins.

Reading are enjoying a superb run of form, four straight wins, with Ireland striker Simon Cox back to his best. A summer signing from Nottingham Forest, Cox has scored four goals in nine games this term.