Preview | Swansea City v Reading

30th December
First team
Updated Reading preview graphic

Swansea City will look to end 2020 on a high when they host Reading in their final game of the calendar year tonight (8pm).

As a torturous year, that has provided unprecedented challenges for so many in so many walks of life, draws to a close, Swans fans have at least been able to see their side have a positive 12 months on the pitch.

Steve Cooper’s side enter tonight’s contest sitting second in the Championship table, on the back of a strong end to the 2019-20 season that saw them reach the play-offs.

Swansea have been among the division’s very best performers in 2020, claiming 71 points from 42 games for a tally that only Brentford (79) can eclipse.

But – as Cooper and his players have pointed out – no prizes are handed out for performances over a calendar year, and there remains much work to do as the Swans look to challenge for a Premier League return.

They host a Reading side transformed on the back of three disappointing campaigns, with the Royals sitting in the top six having led the way over the opening weeks of the season as they showed sensational form under Veljko Paunovic.

Team news

Liam Cullen

Swansea City will be without Morgan Gibbs-White, while Liam Cullen is also sidelined after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

George Byers is back in contention after a groin injury, while it remains to be seen if Kyle Naughton is able to return following a side strain.

Pre-match views

Steve Cooper QPR

Steve Cooper: “They are a good team, they have good technical players and athleticism. They have picked up a lot of points and good results to be in a good position.

“We respect that and see them for what they are, but we are in a great place too in terms of our momentum and mood.

“We need to make sure we really commit to the game by doing what we do. It’s a game to look forward to.

“We’ve come through a really busy period and had a little bit of time to be able to prepare for these three games over Christmas, and we cannot look any further ahead than this game.

“People might get bored of me saying to take one game at a time, but I genuinely believe this is the right way to look at it this season because of how unusual the schedule is.”

Veljko Paunovic: “We always have courage going into these kinds of games.

“No matter what we will put together a team which has the right mentality and who will aspire to win the game.”

Remember the last time?

George Byers

Andy Yiadom grabbed a late equaliser to earn Reading a point and prevent Swansea City going back to the top of the Championship table in September 2019.

Borja Baston had coolly guided Andre Ayew’s cross into the far corner of the net to give the hosts the dream start.

They had chances to extend their lead but also had to be wary of a Royals side who were more than happy to press bodies forward when the chance arose.

And the visitors got their reward for a positive second-half display when Yiadom fired an angled drive into the far corner of net in the final minute of normal time.

Prime numbers

QPR cele

13 – Swansea City are unbeaten in their last 13 competitive meetings with the Royals, stretching back to a 4-0 loss at the Madejski Stadium in September 2008.

71 – Swansea City have racked up 71 Championship points so far in 2020, only Brentford (79) can beat that tally.

Today’s mascots

Mascots Reading home

Tonight, we welcome our virtual mascots, Alfie Hopkins and Theo Gye.

Alfie is aged seven and comes from Swansea. Alfie plays football for Morriston Town and Swansea City Academy. His favourite player is Connor Roberts.

Theo is aged eight and comes from Neath. Theo plays football for Briton Ferry Academy and A3, while his favourite players are Morgan Gibbs White and Andre Ayew.