Reading FC have had their fair share of injury problems this season in the Championship, which goes to show what an impressive job Veljko Paunovic has done so far with the Berkshire-based side.
The Royals are currently sat fifth in the second-tier standings, and will fancy their chances of making a late push for the automatic promotion places, as they’re just six points adrift of second-placed Watford heading into their clash with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground this weekend.
Reading could be set to welcome back Ovie Ejaria, Andy Rinomhota and Yakou Meite into the fold for the match against Chris Hughton’s side.
But they’ll still be without Michael Morrison who is set to be ruled out of action for the next few games, in what could decide which direction Reading’s season heads in.
One player that is one of the club’s long-term absentees is John Swift, with the former Chelsea midfielder picking up a hamstring injury earlier in this year’s campaign.
Swift signed for Reading back in 2016, and has gone on to make 159 appearances in total for the Royals. He’s chipped in with 23 goals and 24 assists during his time with the club, but that doesn’t tell the bigger picture.
The 25-year-old has had lengthy spells out of the team through injury, and that’s been the issue with Swift once again this season.
He returned to action from a previous injury lay-off back in December against Luton Town, and went on to make nine appearances in this year’s campaign, as the Royals target promotion into the Premier League.
Swift was ruled out with a hamstring problem after featuring in Reading’s first two matches of this year’s campaign, but has now picked up another injury, as he last featured against Stoke City in early February.
Reading aren’t exactly blessed with a considerable amount of depth in their squad, with young players such as Dejan Tetek being called upon by Paunovic during the 2020/21 season.
Tom McIntyre has also been deployed in the central midfield role in the absence of Andy Rinomhota in recent weeks, and to his credit, the Scottish youth international hasn’t looked at all out of place.
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You have to feel as though Reading would be in a far better position than they’re currently in if they had Swift available, as he’s already shown in the past that he can perform to a high standard in the Championship, and unlock opposition defences with relative ease at times.
He had six goals and 11 assists to his name in all competitions last season, in what was a rare full season where Swift remained injury-free.
But Reading are going to be in for an interesting summer ahead, as they could potentially be planning for life in the Premier League next term.
Even if they aren’t to win promotion into the top-flight once again, then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the club look at moving players on, as they look to comply with financial fair play rules.
Swift could be one of those that they look to move on, especially with his reported wages at £25,000 per week according Salary Sport. Reading have already shown that they can sign players on cheaper wages, and that can perform to a similar standard that Swift did, with Josh Laurent being a classic example of that.
He arrived in the summer of 2020, and has gone on to form an impressive partnership alongside Andy Rinomhota in the centre of the Reading midfield.
Swift is out-of-contract in the summer of 2022, and the club could potentially be tempted to cash-in on him whilst they can, as they look to avoid losing him for free in a year.
It’s a well-contested debate as to whether Swift should stick around or be moved on from the Madejski Stadium in the summer, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting few months ahead at Reading, with the club battling to return to the Premier League this term.