Meet the opposition | Reading
As Swansea City prepare to take on Reading in the first round of the Carabao Cup, we take a closer look at the Royals.
What's their story?
Reading’s last Premier League appearance came in 2013, with the Royals coming close to returning in 2016 when they lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final.
Following their Wembley appearance, Reading struggled to regain that same form; two 20th-place finishes immediately followed, with five managers departing the club in that same period. The appointment of Velkjo Paunović in 2020, however, seems to have given the club a new lease of life.
Fans will be hoping that the squad can build on their seventh-place finish last season to once again be in the promotion picture.
How's their form?
Reading finished their 2020-21 season in seventh place, winning 19 games, drawing 13 and losing 14.
Despite a strong start - winning seven of their first eight games, the Royals’ form tailed off and they picked up just three points from their last five outings of last term as they missed out on a play-off spot.
They started the new season with defeat in an entertaining clash at Stoke, losing 3-2 to the Potters after twice coming from behind to level.
Who's the boss?
Veljko Paunovic. Paunović became Reading’s fourth manager in under two years when he took over in August of 2020, leading the Royals to a seventh-place finish in his first season at the helm.
The Serbian began his managerial career in his homeland, coaching Serbia’s Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-20s between 2012 and 2015. A World Cup win for his under-20s side in 2015 raised his profile and saw him handed the chance to manage in the MLS, where he managed Chicago Fire for four seasons before his move to Berkshire.
In his playing career, Paunović enjoyed spells at Partizan, Hannover 96, Getafe, Almeria, Rubin Kazan, Philadelphia Union and, most notably, Atlético Madrid.
Who's the captain?
Reading’s skipper joined the Berkshire club from Premier League champions Leicester City in 2016. Moore began his career in the Foxes academy before being called up to the senior squad in 2012.
Since joining the Royals, the centre-back has made 200 league appearances and scored seven goals in five seasons. Moore was named the club’s player of the season for the 2017-18 campaign, eventually earning the captain’s armband during Reading’s 2018-19 campaign and retaining it.
A strong presence, and confident with the ball at his feet, Moore is an integral figure for the Royals.
Who are the key men?
Portuguese striker Lucas João proved himself a crucial part of Velkjo Paunović’s squad last term, leading the Royals’ goalscoring tally with 19 league goals. He also registered seven assists in his 39 Championship appearances.
João’s strike partner, Yakou Méïte, also enjoyed a successful season in front of goal. The Ivorian bagged 12 times in 25 games, finishing with a team-high 0.7 goal contributions per game. Méïte joined Reading in 2018 and finished as the club’s top goal-scorer in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
Midfielder Josh Laurent and defender Tom Holmes were also among those to impress as the Royals went to close to a top-six finish last season.
Who wore both shirts?
Who wore both shirts?
Modou Barrow joined the Swans in the summer of 2014 from Swedish top-flight club Ostersunds. Barrow became the first Gambian footballer to play in the Premier League as well as the first Gambian to score a Premier League goal when he netted in a defeat at Bournemouth.
He made his debut in a 2-1 victory to Arsenal, coming on in place of Marvin Emnes. The forward scored his first goal in a 6-2 win at Tranmere Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup. During his time at the Swans, Barrow was loaned out to gain first team experience at clubs such as Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United.
His time in SA1 came to an end in 2017, after making a total of 55 appearances, scoring two goals. Barrow signed for the Royals later that year for an undisclosed fee. Barrow’s three-year spell in Berkshire saw him make over 80 appearances for the Championship side, scoring over 15 times.
Leroy Lita made 83 league appearances for Reading between 2005-2009 before his move to Swansea in 2011.
Lita scored 20 league goals for the Royals and helped them to win promotion to the Premier League in the 2005-06 season.
Lita made three appearances against the Jacks in his time with Reading. The first came in the first round of the League Cup in 2005, where he scored the goal that put decided the tie in the 114th minute.
The second came two years later, this time in the second round of the League Cup, with the striker scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Swans at Liberty Stadium.
Finally, Lita made a late appearance as a substitute in a 2-0 loss to Swansea in a 2009-10 league fixture.
The forward made the move to SA1 in 2011, making just 18 appearances in three years with the Swans. He was loaned out to Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton and Hove Albion during his time with Swansea City.
He did, however, score in Swansea's first-ever Premier League win over West Brom in 2011.