Reading FC have shown remarkable improvements since Jose Gomes was appointed as Paul Clement’s successor, and he has guided them to Championship survival this season.
One man that stood out with a number of impressive performances for the Royals was Emiliano Martinez, who secured the Berkshire-based side valuable points in his loan spell from Arsenal.
But Martinez has returned to The Emirates this summer after his loan spell concluded, and it seems likely that he could be second-choice goalkeeper with the Gunners as Petr Cech is set to retire upon the conclusion of this year’s campaign.
Reading are looking thin on options between the sticks now, with Sam Walker being the only recognised senior goalkeeper with Anssi Jaakkola set to depart the club in the summer with his contract due to expire.
This could be the perfect opportunity for Reading to bring in one of their highly-rated young goalkeepers to challenge for a first-team starting spot.
One player that will certainly fancy his chances of a chance in Jose Gomes’ squad is Luke Southwood, who is set to return from his loan spell with Vanarama National League side, Eastleigh.
The shot-stopper had an impressive season with Eastleigh as well, and certainly played a crucial role in helping his side finish inside the play-off places.
Despite his heroics, Eastleigh narrowly missed out on a place at Wembley in the play-off final as they were defeated by Salford City on penalties in the semi-final.
But Southwood will now be concentrating on proving himself back with Reading, and if he can continue to fulfil his exciting potential, then it looks likely we’ll see him in Jose Gomes’ side in the near future.
He has represented England at youth level, and has been earning raving reviews in recent years after a number of impressive showings.
It has been reported by the Daily Mail recently that Southwood is attracting interest from Hull City, but it seems unlikely that a move will be on the cards for the youngster with Reading light in the goalkeeping department ahead of next season.
It’s a make of break season for Southwood, and he will know that he has the ability to be challenging for a first-team spot with Reading this year with his contract expiring in 2020.