Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Everton loanee Lewis Gibson admitted he is trying to stay upbeat during a ‘tough’ loan spell at Championship promotion-chasers Reading, while speaking to the Royals’ website.

The Durham-born defender has been a victim of Reading’s rather unexpected success, it seems.

With Veljko Paunovic’s side flying high in fifth place, the former Chicago Fire boss has been reluctant to mess with a winning formula. 

That means Gibson is stuck on the sidelines, watching from afar as Michael Morrison and Liam Moore forge a formidable partnership at the heart of Reading’s four-man backline.

RATING Your Previous Manager’s LAST Signing

RATING Your Previous Manager’s LAST Signing

The England U21 international, who joined Everton from Newcastle United in a £6 million deal three years ago, has played just three Championship games so far; hardly the regular game-time he was hoping for when he left Goodison Park on a temporary basis over the summer. 

“It’s tough – I’m not going to lie, it’s a tough thing,” Gibson said. “Every footballer will go through this period at some point in their career – it’s about keeping yourself happy and doing everything you can to maintain a level.

Emma Simpson – Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

“That’s about doing little bits when you’re not involved…not to sulk, and to get on with it and focus on improving yourself so that you’re ready to help the team.

“It’s important to have people around you and that they support you all the way.

“I’ve got to thank my family a lot because Reading is not exactly around the corner for me but I have to thank them a lot for keeping my spirits high and to keep me going through a tough time.”

Saturday’s 1-0 win away at Queens Park Rangers could perhaps have been a turning point for Gibson, however.

The versatile defender filled in at left-back after Omar Richards limped off at Loftus Road, with Paunovic talking up his ‘fantastic’ contributions after a win that kept Reading within touching distance of top spot.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

In other news, 'Can't say I'm surprised': Rangers boss Gerrard reacts to Lennon's Celtic exit amid Ibrox success