It has been a bit of a weird season at the Madejski for Reading and their fans, with just nine matches of the 2019/20 campaign now remaining.
Back in August, many Reading fans harboured hopes of pushing for the play-off places and it was easy to see why. Their end to the 18/19 season was brilliant under Jose Gomes and having strengthened significantly in the summer, hopes were high.
However, Gomes did not last long, controversially replaced by the club’s sporting director Mark Bowen before autumn turned into Winter, with the Royals edging towards another relegation scrap.
Whilst the turnaround under Bowen has not been dramatic, it should be enough to at least make Reading fans content heading into this enforced period away from the pitch.
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They sit in 14th place, which would not have satisfied many at the beginning of the season, but they are also nine points clear of the relegation zone which means Bowen has at least fulfilled the primary objective for the season.
Once football returns in the Championship, Reading will have the luxury of playing out some risk-free games. Whilst the threat of relegation is not completely gone, with the same being said for their play-off hopes as well, both rely on a lot of variables involving other teams and are pretty unlikely to happen.
But that need not be a bad thing. Now, Bowen can start to plan for next season. Plenty of Reading fans are still to be convinced by the Welshman’s managerial abilities but he does at least have time on his side now.
When football returns at the start of April, as is planned, they will likely have a fully-fit squad too with Lucas Joao the headline returnee set to challenge for a place alongside George Puscas.
Will he be the difference for them next season? Who knows. But the Royals will at least have time to tinker now.