Preview | Reading v Swansea City
Swansea City round off their travels for 2022 with a trip to the Select Car Leasing Stadium to face Reading this evening (5.15pm).
The Sky Sports cameras will be there to provide live coverage of a fixture that has delivered a number of dramatic and high-scoring contests in recent years.
There have been 36 goals in the last nine meetings alone, even though one of those ended in a goalless draw.
The two sides are within touching distance of the play-off places and would love nothing more than to try and start 2023 by occupying a spot in the top six.
Swansea City head coach Russell Martin will weigh up whether to make changes to his side after praising the impact his substitutes made in the dramatic draw at Coventry.
The Swans came from 3-0 down to secure a point at the CBS Arena with Harry Darling, Armstrong Oko-Flex, Joe Allen, Ollie Cooper and Liam Cullen all making their mark.
Martin will again monitor the fitness of Michael Obafemi while Liam Walsh remains on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury.
Russell Martin: “We will have a brilliant following there, as we always do. The fans were great at Reading in the two games we had there last season.
“We know there are over 2,000 coming and that will generate its own energy for us. It’s on Sky as well, which gives us a chance to show everyone the team we want to be and the team we can be.
“We want to show that we can hurt teams, and we are excited by it.
“There is a lot of frustration in the building about where we are, because we feel we should be better off than we are.
“We have to keep using that as fuel to drive us on, and to help the young players continue to grow, and we will get to where we want to get to.
“We know Reading are a team of real experience who are battle hardened at this level, they work really hard out of possession and can cause problems as they have power and physicality at the top end of the pitch.
“They used that effectively against us on the counter in the home game, from there we made them work a lot without the ball and we were able to make the most of it.
“That was a tough game, and I am sure this will be no different.”
Paul Ince: “Christmas is hectic and it’s a time when I’m thankful I’ve got my whole squad; they’re not all completely ready yet, but I’ve got options now.
“Some squads are bigger than others – and I’ve spent the first half of the season calling on 16 or 17 players. That’s tough to ask the same players to keep going to the well and keep performing, keep perfoming.
“Now, I can look it and play certain players in one game, they can have a rest in the next one… that helps you. If you don’t have a big squad you can’t do that; you have to ask the same players to go over and over.
“So I’m hoping now I can be in situations where I rest one or two, and those players that get a bit of rest can come back fresher for the next game.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City missed out on a fourth away win in a row as a last-gasp equaliser by Tom McIntyre denied them victory in a thrilling encounter on their last visit to the Select Car Leasing Stadium in April.
Russell Martin’s side had trailed to an early Lucas Joao penalty, but responded in superb style as Hannes Wolf and Joel Piroe fired home spectacular strikes.
A penalty from Piroe – Swansea’s first in 366 days – took the Dutchman to 22 goals for the season, and Obafemi fired home his 10th to make it 4-1.
But the relegation-threatened hosts set up a grandstand finish thanks to Tom Ince and Joao’s second strike of the afternoon, before defender McIntyre arrived to fire in a leveller in time added on.
The Swans extended their unbeaten run to seven games, but that was little consolation after they relinquished their grip on a contest they had been in complete and utter control of for long periods.
1 - Swansea City have lost just one of their last 19 meetings with Reading in all competitions. Their last defeat at Reading was back in September 2008.
5 - In five of the last nine meetings between the teams, the Swans have scored three or more goals, including in the reverse fixture earlier this season and the play-off clinching win at Reading in the summer of 2020.