Reading manager Brian McDermott has confirmed that Alex Pearce was dropped from the squad to face Wigan due to recent poor performances, and not his refusal to sign a new contract.
The 24-year-old has made 17 appearances for the Royals this season, but has not featured since the 2-1 loss to Stoke City on February 9.
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Pearce's contract expires at the end of the season and he is yet to accept Reading's offer of a fresh deal, but McDermott has rubbished rumours centre-back’s recent absence was related to the protracted negotiations.
"The contract does not come into it at all," he told the club’s official website.
"Obviously I'm frustrated with the contract situation, it's a good offer, he's got to make his mind up. He says he wants to stay and play for me, he has to make his own mind up on that.
"I spoke to Pearcey on Friday, I said to him he needs to do better [for both goals against Stoke].
"He had to do better picking up Robert Huth for the set play and then when [Cameron] Jerome turned him for the second goal. He accepted that."