Meet the opposition | Reading
With Swansea City set to take on Reading on Wednesday night (7.30pm), we take a closer look at the Royals.
What’s their story?
Having enjoyed two spells in the Premier League, Reading are now in their seventh-straight season in the Championship, with an eighth set to follow.
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?
Up and down. Reading have lost four of their eight games since the season resumed, winning twice.
The high point of that sequence was a 5-0 hammering of Luton at Kenilworth Road, while they also won at Charlton.
They have found results hard to come by at home, winning just once at the Madejski in 2020 to given them a total of seven home wins in all competitions over the course of the season.
Who’s the boss?
Mark Bowen. The experienced Welshman took on his first senior managerial role when succeeding Jose Gomes as Royals boss in October.
Boyhood Swansea fan Bowen, 56, had a long playing career with the defender having spells with Tottenham, Norwich, West Ham, Charlton, Wigan and Reading – also winning 41 caps for his country - before hanging up his boots in 1999.
He moved into coaching quickly, joining Mark Hughes’ Wales set-up and Bowen would go on to work with his former international team-mate at a number of clubs.
He was Steve Bruce’s assistant at Crystal Palace and Birmingham, before going on to join Hughes at Blackburn in 2004.
From there he would accompany the former Manchester United striker at Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke City and Southampton.
He left St Mary’s in December 2018, and became a technical consultant at Reading in March of the following year.
He was promoted to sporting director last summer, but assumed managerial responsibilities when Gomes departed the club after a poor start to the season.
Who are the key men?
Yakou Meite and George Puscas have provided 30 goals between them in all competitions, with Meite’s tally of 17 including a four-goal haul in the recent win over Luton.
The Ivorian was also on the mark in the weekend defeat at Blackburn, while Puscas has also contributed three assists following his arrival from Inter Milan.
They have the talent of Chelsea academy graduate John Swift to call upon, with the attacking midfielder chipping in with six goals and 10 assists to underline his creative ability.
At the back they have ex-Napoli keeper Rafael Cabral, while centre-half Michael Morrison joined from Birmingham last year and ex-Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett is also on their books.