Swans v Reading: The big talking points

26th October 2018
First team

Swansea City will look to make it two home wins in four days when they return to Championship action against Reading on Saturday (3pm).

Here are all the main discussion points heading into the game.

 

Clement’s return

The visit of Reading means a reunion for the Swans with former manager Paul Clement.

The 46-year-old heads back to SA1 for the first time since leaving the Liberty a little over 10 months ago.

Clement’s exit came with the Swans struggling for form at the wrong end of the Premier League table, but he will also be remembered for keeping the club up in the 2016-17 campaign.

Clement was appointed as Bob Bradley’s successor on January 3, 2017, with the Swans deep in trouble.

But thanks to some notable victories – most memorably at Anfield – and a superb run at the end of the season, Clement’s men avoided the drop.

After leaving the Swans, he returned to football when he got the Reading job in March.

He will be flanked this weekend by the likes of Nigel Gibbs and Karl Halabi, who were also on his staff in South Wales.

 

Comeback kings

The Swans’ victory over Blackburn in midweek was their fifth in the Championship this season.

It was also the third in which they have taken maximum points having fallen behind, a feat they also achieved at Sheffield United and Millwall.

That says much about the character of the young team Graham Potter is building.

And it also indicates that even if Reading score first this weekend, all hope is not lost.

 

Potter’s picks

Having made five changes to his team for the Blackburn win, Potter was asked about his tendency to shuffle his pack on a regular basis.

He suggested that it would be “easier” for him to stick with a settled team – but insisted his “responsibility” was “to do the right thing” for each game the Swans play.

Nothing is certain, of course, but it would be no surprise if more alterations are made for Reading’s visit.

Might Leroy Fer and Jay Fulton be recalled to the starting side after their strong contributions from the bench in midweek?

How about the likes of Joe Rodon, George Byers or Barrie McKay?

As ever with Potter, the likely line-up is not easy to predict.

 

In the groove

Bersant Celina had to wait until his 10th Swans appearance to score his first goal for the club, that memorable effort against Queens Park Rangers.

He now has two in three games having produced another fine finish to round off the Blackburn win on Tuesday night.

Can he make it three goals in as many home fixtures this weekend?

Celina certainly has the quality to make a difference in the final third.

The more he can contribute – and ease the burden on Oli McBurnie – the better it will be for Potter’s team.

 

No Mo?

Modou Barrow could feature against the Swans for the first time this weekend, but only if he is given a chance by Clement.

The former Swans winger scored 10 goals for Reading last season after Clement, who was then in charge at the Liberty, allowed him to leave for Berkshire.

He is yet to get off the mark after 11 appearances this term, however, and has not even made the bench in Reading’s last two games.

When asked about Barrow – who played under Potter at Ostersund – this week, Clement suggested there were “private matters” he wanted to “deal with” before the 26-year-old would be included.

It remains to be seen whether Barrow is back in the mix at his old club.

 

Reading run

The Swans will hope for more of the same against Reading this weekend having gone unbeaten in their last nine meetings with the Royals.

Their last loss to the men from the Madejski Stadium was a heavy one – 4-0 in 2008 – but since then, the Swans have had the upper hand in meetings between these clubs.

Clement was in the Swans dugout when they last came face to face, in the Carabao Cup last season, and goals from Alfie Mawson and Jordan Ayew saw his team progress.

The Swans must hope Clement is not smiling again as the clubs do battle once more.

 

* Tickets for the Swans' clash with Reading on Saturday (3pm) are still available. To get yours, click HERE.