Before we get started with our end-of-season accolades, there’s the small matter of our final Player of the Month award to hand out first. We’re putting the seven games in April and the last day of the season in May together for this one, meaning there’s a plethora of performances to analyse.
Ultimately this was the period where Reading secured safety in the Championship - a feat that shouldn’t be underestimated given how unlikely it looked earlier in the campaign. The Royals suffered just one defeat in their first five matches in April (against Cardiff) as wins over Stoke City and Sheffield United, along with draws against Barnsley and Swansea City, got them over the line. The games against the Blades and the Swans were particularly crucial, as the team secured points in second-half stoppage time thanks to one of our nominees below.
Once their league status had been all but secured, Reading downed tools and finished the season with three consecutive defeats without scoring - against Hull City, West Bromwich Albion and Luton Town.
So who ended the campaign on the best form? Using our player ratings and man-of-the-match votes, we’ve compiled our four-man shortlist in alphabetical order...
Average rating: 6.29 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Barnsley A), 2nd (Stoke H), 2nd (Cardiff H), 2nd (Hull A), 3rd (Sheff United A)
It’s been an up and down season for Drinkwater, who started strongly following his loan move from Chelsea before becoming one of the most frustrating players in the team. But he ended the campaign as one of the standout performers, with several tireless displays in the middle of the park. The 32-year-old went about his business with little fuss and was the metronome Reading needed in the absence of Andy Rinomhota. All the best, Danny.
Average rating: 6.40 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Sheff United A), 3rd (Barnsley A), 3rd (Cardiff H), 3rd (Luton A)
A second nomination in a row for Holmes, who has found his feet again in Reading’s backline after a few nervy moments earlier in the season. The centre-back finished in the top three of our man of the match votes in four of the five games he played, while Sean handed him a rarely seen 9/10 for his colossal performance in the victory away at Sheffield United. Holmes is out of contract this summer, but is high on many fans’ list to retain.
Average rating: 6.13 / Man of the match awards: 1st (West Brom H), 2nd (Sheff United A), 2nd (Swansea H), 3rd (Hull A)
Arguably McIntyre isn’t on this shortlist for his defensive displays - he started April with a few shaky performances at left-back - but instead for his heroics at the other end of the pitch. The boyhood fan lived his dream as he scored the winner in front of the away end in the 92nd minute against Sheffield United, before repeating the trick with a 95th-minute equaliser at home to Swansea three days later. King of the ‘Ding.
Average rating: 6.83 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Stoke H), 1st (Cardiff H)
Named as the club’s official player of the season this week, Yiadom was one of the driving forces behind the team’s survival push with his leadership, industrious work-rate and calm headed when it mattered. Always full of energy down the right hand side, it also turns out that he played the final month or so with a fractured foot - epitomising his dedication to the cause. It’s going to be one hard goodbye this summer.
Who is your Player of the Month for April/May? Vote in the poll below or, if it doesn’t show up on your device, click this link.