Another disappointing result away from the home for the Royals this week saw them slip into the relegation zone; Birmingham City brushing Reading aside despite the Royals having considerably more possession. Now, Reading face high-flying Swansea City - former employers of manager Paul Clement. Can he nick three points off his previous side or will the Swans send him closer to the exit door?
Form (all competitions): DLLWL
The major news out of the Reading camp is that Modou Barrow has been left out of the team due to a breach of discipline - according to manager Paul Clement. The former Swans winger is therefore unlikely to be in the match day squad. Saeid Ezatolahi still misses out through injury, so the midfield from Birmingham will likely remain.
Yakou Meite’s late goal against The Blues continues his rich vein of form, making him the second highest goal scorer for The Royals alongside Sam Baldock with four goals. Garath McCleary could return after dropping to the bench in mid-week, with Paul McShane likely to still be out injured. Dave Edwards, Adrian Popa, Jordan Obita and Omar Richards are long-term absentees.
Top goalscorer: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (7)
Form (all competitions): WDLLW
The Swans do not have any major injury concerns coming into the match but have reported that Jefferson Montero and Wilfried Bony have returned to training. However, both are unlikely to feature in Saturday’s match.
Swansea currently sit 11th in the league with an average run of form as they adjust to life back in the Championship - however, they are one of Reading’s so called bogey teams as they are unbeaten against the Royals in nine matches in all competitions. The last Reading manager to beat a Swansea side was Steve Coppell in 2008. A win for Swansea on Saturday puts them back in the mix for a play-off place.
Top goalscorer: Oli McBurnie (4)
- The Royals have only one win in their last 12 away league matches in Wales (W1 D6 L5).
- It’s a special day for Paul Clement who returns to the side that gave him his Premier League managerial debut. His time there was short-lived though as he lost seven of his last 10 matches, contributing to their relegation last season.
- Swansea City have conceded the joint second fewest goals this season (11) - only bettered by second place Middlesbrough (7).
Personally I think this will be Reading’s and Paul Clement’s toughest test this season. They face a side who on paper can run riot against any side in the division but have been very inconsistent. The history between the both sides favours Swansea with home advantage as well.
Reading will have to come out of the blocks very quickly in order to gain a foothold in this game. However, based on recent form I can see the Swans running away with the match and adding more pressure to their former boss’ job security. It will be interesting to see what happens after the game in the boardroom if the Royals lose again.
Swansea City 3-1 Reading