• Forward who stayed put turns game against Reading
• Tony Pulis 'desperate' for £90m Premier League bonus
Tony Pulis had a very successful transfer window – not so much because of the players he brought in to Stoke City, although the £5m that secured the young goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham City might prove to be money very well spent, but because of those who stayed.
That much was evident when, after an hour's stultifying football, the exasperated Stoke manager sent on the strikers Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones. Neither is a regular starter under Pulis and both were the subject of interest from other clubs in January. Jones might have gone to Swansea City as a replacement for Danny Graham, Jerome to Championship-leading Cardiff; but both remained and their introduction won Stoke this game.
Jerome's arrival was particularly influential. His control, turn and beautifully struck angled volley to score Stoke's second after Robert Huth had headed them into the lead was every bit as spectacular as the thunderous shot that rescued a point against Southampton at the end of December. Though Reading set about staging their now customary comeback, and Adrian Mariappa scored with a near-post header, this time they had just too much to do.
Asked how important it had been for Stoke to hang on to Jerome, Jones and Peter Crouch, who was linked to Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers, Pulis pointed to the jaw-dropping shower of gold that the new TV deals mean will fall on Premier League clubs next season.
"It's £90m, I think, and for the club not to get that, to miss out on that would kill me, really," he said. "I'm desperate to get to the end of the season to stay in the Premiership because I want to give [Stoke City owners] the Coates family, who have invested a hell of a lot of money in this football club, something back."
If, as seems to have been the case, Jones, Jerome and Crouch are still at Stoke because other clubs were unable or unwilling to meet their salary requirements, Pulis clearly considers such expenditure money well spent. As he said with quiet satisfaction, noting that with 12 games remaining Stoke have 33 points and lie 10th: "We're in a good position."
Reading, for all their recent improvement, are back in the relegation zone. Even so, they flew to Dubai on Sunday morning for warm-weather training in better spirits than they would have done shortly after Christmas, when they had lost seven consecutive league games.
"Listen, we have got 14 points from eight games and, if you can do that, you are not too bad," Brian McDermott said. "We will just have to keep fighting all the way and we will do that."
Man of the match Robert Huth (Stoke)