Brian McDermott will not offer Reading academy products "a shot just for the sake of it" before the end of the season.
McDermott was asked whether he had considered playing youth players over their six loan players - who may not return to the club next season - now that the Royals are out of the FA Cup and lying mid-table in the Championship.
"We give loads of academy players opportunities and they've played in teams that have won," the 54-year-old told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"There were five academy players that played [in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat against Crystal Palace].
"It's about earning the shirt, earning the opportunity to play."