Nottingham Forest linked Reading star Josh Laurent earned praise from Paul Ince after the Royals were thrashed 4-0 at the City Ground.
Laurent was linked with a move to the Reds during the summer when Chris Hughton was still in charge at the club.
The uncompromising central midfield has been nursing an injury but he returned to action for the game against Forest.
Prior to the City Ground clash, Reading have been missing Laurent for five games and his absence has been telling.
Forest were hoping to cash in on some financial uncertainties at the Berkshire-based club.
Reading stood firm, however, but the player will now be out of contract during the summer when he can leave for free.
If Reading keep playing as they did against Forest they will be relegated and in the process, their hopes of keeping Laurent will evaporate.
Ince is doing his level best to massage Laurent’s ego and he name-checked him yesterday.
He told Berkshire Live: “After the goal we were brilliant; they didn’t have a shot in the first half and we had two wonderful chances with Morrison and Laurent. I thought he was outstanding.”
Laurent would be sound free transfer for Forest
The midfielder stood head and shoulders above any of his teammates yesterday as Reading struggled on Trentside.
Forest are likely to keep Laurent on their radar and he’d represent a really shrewd piece of business.
The 26-year-old still has bags of time on his side and Forest could make him an integral part of their future plans.
A central midfielder is likely to be needed next season. James Garner will return to Manchester United, Jack Colback isn’t getting any younger and Cafu is yet to nail down a place under Steve Cooper.
As a result, Laurent could make for an ideal addition to the Forest ranks ahead of next season.