Meet the opposition | Reading
As Swansea City prepare to host Reading at the Swansea.com Stadium this weekend, 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 2017 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.
But hopes of a promotion challenge this term have been damaged by a six-point penalty that dropped them down the table.
How's their form?
Reading’s form has been up and down so far this season, with a slow start being followed by a sequence of five wins in six and then a run of four defeats.
The Royals did manage to end the losing streak before the international break by beating Birmingham at St Andrew’s and then drew with Nottingham Forest.
However, their season has been hurt by that recent six-point penalty for breaching EFL profitability and sustainability rules.
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?
Liam Moore. 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?
Midfielder John Swift has been in excellent form with eight goals and eight assists in just 18 appearances this season.
The Chelsea youth product has made over 180 appearances for the Berkshire club since joining in 2016, and he has been the bright spark during a topsy-turvy start to the 2021-22 season.
Former Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria is a key creative figure in what is his second full season with the club.
The 24-year-old had loan spells with Sunderland and Rangers, and then two separate loans with the Royals before making the move permanent.
Defender Scott Dann has added experience as - with Reading under a transfer embargo - he joined as a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace.
The 34-year-old has quickly become a regular and chipped in with two goals.