In his pre-Reading press conference, Jonas Eidevall confirmed that our centre-back duo, Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza, will be out for "several weeks" through injury.
When asked about a specific time frame for their recovery, Eidevall replied: "We expect it to be several weeks, unfortunately. We have to wait for further assessment by the consultants before we can put a more exact time frame on it but at the moment, we don't think any surgery is needed."
Earlier this month, Rafaelle's injury was confirmed as a metatarsal fracture. Eidevall did not specify the nature of Williamson's injury but confirmed that it was unlikely she would recover in time for the next international break, which takes place between November 7-15.
Despite being on the sidelines, the boss reiterated that our players' ongoing roles extend far beyond their work on the pitch: "For me, the way that we prepare for a game, everyone has a role to play in the environment that we have, the meetings we have, and what we do on the pitch together. That part is so important.
"When I speak about us being 100% and putting the team first, the games may be the fewest minutes we have together every week. Even the injured players like Rafa, Leah and Teyah Goldie all have a big, big role to play for the group in order to be supportive, and be able to stay together here. We go through this whole block as a group."
It was only last November that Williamson suffered a serious hamstring injury during our 1-1 draw away at Tottenham, which kept her out of action for two months. The England captain didn't return to our squad until late January for the fixture against Manchester City.
"I think what's really important is that we need to treat every game 100%. We have some team values, but it's really important for us to live them. We want to be 100%, we want to be fearless in our approach, and we want to put the team first. None of that changes. If we get one, two, three, four injuries or have unavailable players, then it's about always finding ways where we can play the best together as a team and that might change depending on the personnel that we have available.
"That doesn't mean that we can play exactly the same way because [players] will have different strengths but also different weaknesses. So in that sense, I think if I learned something from that period last year, it was to see that when we are playing with different players, we might need to tweak some of our priorities in order to be smart and to play into these players' strengths."
Arsenal Academy graduate Anna Patten is currently on her second successive loan season with Aston Villa and following the recent spate of defensive injuries, Eidevall was also asked whether there was an option to recall our young centre-back.
"It's not a loan where she has to stay the whole season if we need to recall, but I don't think there is a recall option before the transfer window opens. It is logical that we can't move players, professional players back and forth from different clubs when the transfer window is closed."
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