Meet the opposition: Reading

31st December 2018
First team

As Swansea City prepare to start 2019 with a trip to Reading on New Year’s Day (3pm), we take a closer look at their hosts.

What’s their story?

Having enjoyed two spells in the Premier League, Reading are now in their sixth-straight season in the Championship.

The Royals were in the top-flight from 2006 to 2008, and again for the 2012-13 campaign. They came close to securing a third promotion to the Premier League in 2017, only to suffer the heartbreak of losing to Huddersfield on penalties.

Swans fans will need no reminding that they also inflicted Wembley misery on the Berkshire club back in 2011, as Scott Sinclair’s hat-trick propelled Brendan Rodgers’ side to an unforgettable promotion.

The Royals have never won a major honour.

How’s their form?

It has been a difficult season for Reading, who parted company with former Swans boss Paul Clement last month.

They appointed Portuguese Jose Gomes as his replacement on December 22, and he has overseen a defeat at Millwall and a goalless draw with QPR in his two games in charge.

They have gone nine games without a win and lie just a place off the foot of the table, two points from safety.

They lost 2-0 to the Swans at the Liberty earlier in the season, with Oli McBurnie scoring a brace for the hosts.

Who’s the boss?

The experienced Gomes was handed the reins just before Christmas after leaving Portuguese club Rio Ave.

The 48-year-old is well travelled and has worked at Porto and Benfica in his homeland, while he was also an assistant manager at Malaga and Panathinaikos.

He recently had spells coaching in Saudi Arabia, helping Al Ahli to win the Saudi Super Cup in 2016, before returning to Portugal last summer with Rio Ave.

They were sixth in the Primeira Liga at the time of his departure.

The New Year’s Day fixture will be Gomes’ first home game since taking over.

Who are the key men?

Striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson has scored seven goals for the Royals this season, a tally matched by Yakou Meite.

The Iceland international recently returned to action, having scored four goals in his five appearances before being sidelined by a broken bone in his back in October.

Sam Baldock has found the net five times following his move from Brighton in the summer, while John O’Shea’s defensive experience has been called on with Tyler Blackett suspended and Liam Moore injured.

Former Swan Mo Barrow has been back in the starting line-up of late having scored once in 18 appearances.