Meet the opposition | Reading
As Swansea City prepare to take on Reading at the Madejski Stadium, we take a closer look at the Royals.
What’s their story?
The Royals have been absent from the Premier League since the 2012-2013 season, and came closest to regaining top-flight status in 2016-2017, losing 4-3 on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the play-off final.
The Berkshire-based club have struggled to challenge for a play-off spot since, finishing 20th in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
However, having enjoyed a much brighter season under Veljko Paunovic, the Reading faithful have good reason to look to the immediate future with some optimism.
How’s their form?
Reading were among the Championship pacesetters over the first half of the season, but they recently dropped out of the play-off places
A run of one win from their last eight games has left six points adrift of the top six with just three games remaining.
Who’s the boss?
Veljko Paunovic. Ex-Atletico Madrid forward Paunovic was announced as Reading manager in August of last year. He has previously had stints at the helm of Chicago Fire, Serbia Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-20s, the latter of whom he went on to win their World Cup with in 2015.
As a player, the Serbian enjoyed spells in the top tiers of Spain, Russia, Germany and the United States with Rubin Kazan, Hannover 96, Partizan, Getafe, Almeria, Philadelphia Union and Atletico Madrid.
Who's the captain?
Liam Moore. Defender Moore left Premier League champions Leicester City in August 2016, in search of a new challenge. He had worn the captain’s armband for the Foxes’ youth team before getting his first senior call-up against Crystal Palace in 2012.
The centre-half earned himself the Royals’ player of the season award at the tail-end of the 2017-2018 campaign, after helping them avoid relegation to League One. He has been a mainstay of their side ever since, and was made skipper for the 2019-20 season.
Who are the key men?
Outstanding full-back Omar Richards is set to link up with German superpower Bayern Munich at the end of this season, while the likes of Michael Olise and Lucas Joao have been stand-out performers.
Joao, who recently suffered a dislocated shoulder, has 22 goals to his name this term, while Olise has six goals and 10 assists under his belt.
Classy midfielder John Swift, meanwhile, has recently returned from injury.