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Hunty's Column: The Final Few Weeks

Our regular columnist gives his take on Reading's play-off run-in.

Aston Villa v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

With only two games left to go, surely even we can't blow a play-off place at this stage? But then again it is Reading FC we're talking about. Fulham are on fire at the minute, but does it really matter who we play? I don't really think so. Whoever we face, this has been an exciting, if not slightly surreal, season.

Not many fans would have dreamt that we would be third now, but there is still the feeling that we can do so much better. That's especially true away from home where we seem to struggle if we go a goal down against a decent team.

Why is this?

Now, I'm not a manager or a psychologist, but I do know that there are two vital ingredients we need back before the play-offs begin. Paul McShane & Joey van den Berg can give us that backbone and a bit of fight and fire that is needed in the pressure of the play-offs.

Liam Moore is a far better player alongside Macca, whereas Tyler Blackett tries hard but doesn't inspire confidence.

And in midfield, we really lack the bite of a aggressive player when Joey isn't playing - someone who can get under people's skin when needed, but is also a decent passer of the ball.

Add to that our 35-year-old inspiration Super Yann Kermorgant, who scored another two goals on Saturday to put his tally for the season up to 16 goals. These are the guys who can make our dreams come true - without them, I think we will just come up short in the fight to get promoted.

The experience and desire they bring rubs off on others and helps the younger players around them when it comes to big match pressure.

It is easy to say we are not ready to go up with the squad we have, but then again eight months not many would have said we would be third with this set of players. What magic could Jaap do in the summer if given the chance?

Personally, I think it's great we're back fighting around the play-offs after a difficult few years on and off the pitch. If we don't make it, it's still been an amazing season which has made us dare to dream again.

I said it a few weeks ago: we still haven't played to our full potential yet. Of course, it wouldn't be a bad time to do it over the next few weeks.

Our experienced players like Ali Al-Habsi, Chris Gunter, Danny Williams and Garath McCleary have become more consistent, and young English signings like Liam Moore and John Swift have been outstanding.

Roy Beerens is frustrating - but talented - and raw prospects like Joseph Mendes, Yakou Meite and Callum Harriott look like good bets for the future.

Liam Kelly - this lad is going places. He reminds me of a young Liam Brady, and will only get better. What's more, he's really getting the media talking over here in Ireland.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, Jaap Stam is refreshingly honest, is still learning his trade, and he has a magic touch. Could he be the first manager in our history to win a play-off final?

He has the big match experience from his illustrious playing career - something that Jimmy Quinn, Mick Gooding, Alan Pardew and Brian McDermott didn't have, despite their undoubted managerial ability.

Will it be enough to see Reading over the line? I have no idea, but I do know that we can beat anyone in this league on our day - so let's get behind the team like never before and go for it!