Reading Football Club have confirmed the majority of their opponents for the pre-season trip to Spain, including two LaLiga clubs, a team from Gibraltar, and Lincoln City.
On Thursday, the Royals announced fixtures with Europa FC, Sevilla, Malaga B, Extremedura, Lincoln and Granada. While most of these games are being played behind closed doors, the clash with Sevilla is open to fans.
Heading out this weekend to their base in the Costa del Sol town of Estepona, Gibraltar Premier Division side Europa are the first on Reading’s agenda, on the evening of Wednesday July 10.
The big clash comes on the following weekend, Saturday July 13, when the team take to Estadio Municipal “Felipe del Valle”, in the town of San José de la Rinconada, to face Sevilla. Tickets are said to cost around €5-€10 with proceeds going to charity and kick off is at 9pm CET.
Like recent seasons, Reading will retreat to their training camp for a double-header on Tuesday, July 16. Malaga’s reserve side are up in the morning before second-tier team Extremadura are the evening opponents. Malaga B - or Atlético Malagueño to give them their proper title - play in Segunda B, Spain’s regionally-split third-tier.
One final double-header awaits Jose Gomes’ side before they fly home on Saturday, July 20. That morning is a match-up with newly-promoted League One club Lincoln before Granada, now back in LaLiga after a promotion of their own, face Reading at 7:30pm CET.
All games bar Sevilla are behind closed doors, as is the July 6 pre-season opener against Southend United at Hogwood. But, the club are promising news of an actual open-to-the-public friendly that will take place before we kick off the Championship season against Sheffield Wednesday on August 3. And, of course, we are playing Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
It’s difficult to be too excited about this sort of pre-season fixture list when only two (eventually three, in theory) games are actually watchable. Furthermore, and arguably most importantly, it’s tough to tell if this sort of preparation actually works.
Reading played double headers against European opponents on the Netherlands tour of 2017 and didn’t win any of them. Last season, we toured Austria - again behind closed doors - and picked up some draws against team you might have actually heard of. The common denominator for both those seasons is we started crap, and had crap seasons. Let’s hope third time’s the charm.