Reading will be hoping to recover at the weekend against top-of-the-table AFC Bournemouth on Saturday evening after consecutive losses in their last two Championship matches.
After such a promising run before the last international break, these recent defeats are a blow, but were probably going to come around at some point with the club currently in the midst of an injury crisis and the same players starting every week.
However, some of the players they do have including the likes of Danny Drinkwater and John Swift are arguably Premier League players, with the former winning the title with Leicester City back in 2016 and the latter attracting interest from a range of top-flight clubs.
Quiz: Do you know what club these 28 ex-Reading FC players are playing at now?
With a points deduction likely to be on its way soon, potentially being implemented immediately after the verdict on their punishment for breaching profit and sustainability rules is decided, they will need the duo and others to step up and ensure they escape any relegation scrap in the latter stages of the 2021/22 campaign.
But with further updates on that yet to emerge, we take a look at some of the latest Reading FC-related news to come out in this summary.
John Swift being monitored by Premier League trio
26-year-old midfielder Swift is currently the subject of interest from top-flight outfits Brentford, Leeds United and Newcastle United ahead of a potential January move, according to the Sheffield Star.
The former Chelsea man has been monitored by sides in the top tier for quite some time – and Football League World understands Burnley, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are four other sides currently taking an interest in the Royals’ key man.
Recording eight goals and six assists in 14 Championship matches so far this season, the fact he has attracted interest from elsewhere is no real surprise and this interest will become particularly intense in the coming months with his contract running out next summer.
This could make the second-tier side tempted to cash in on him to avoid losing him for nothing – but considering how important he is to the team – it would be a surprise to see him leave the Select Car Leasing Stadium before the end of the 2021/22 season.
Any bids that come in during the winter window are likely to be much lower than the Royals’ valuation considering his contract situation, the main reason why many people can see him staying with his current side beyond January.
The state of play on contracts
Manager Veljko Paunovic stated yesterday that contract talks with players are ongoing in his pre-match press conference as he spoke to Berkshire Live’s Jonathan Low, amid some fans’ concerns at the number of key players who could leave for nothing next summer.
Although the club can offer contracts despite their transfer embargo, the Serbian admitted that finances are currently a major issue in tying players down to extensions, something that will be of concern.
Key man Swift, Rafael, Andy Yiadom, Tom Holmes, Michael Morrison, Scott Dann, Andy Rinomhota, Josh Laurent, Alen Halilovic, Junior Hoilett, Femi Azeez and Felipe Araruna’s contracts all run out in 2022, leaving the club with a threadbare squad unless the majority commit their future to the second-tier side.
Not only are they at risk of leaving the club, but the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Baba Rahman and Tom Dele-Bashiru are unlikely to return to the club permanently on the expiration of their loan deals in Berkshire at the end of this campaign.
With this, we could see a much-changed Reading squad this time next year compared to now.
Prutton predicts Reading loss
The home side come into this match having lost against Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers in their last two games, conceding five in total and probably losing confidence in the process after a decent run previous to those setbacks.
In stark contrast, the Cherries have gone unbeaten in their 14 Championship games this term under Scott Parker, currently sitting five points clear at the top of the table and looking invincible at this stage.
The fact they will be under pressure to claim all three points away from home again makes things interesting – and they will inevitably lose at some point – but will they suffer their first defeat at the hands of Paunovic’s men?
That remains to be seen, but Reading will need to get past a side that has conceded just eight goals in 14 matches if they want to come out victorious in this one. Calling it a tall order would be an understatement.
Felipe Araruna closing in on return
Playing on Monday night for the club’s Under-23s, Brazilian defender/midfielder Araruna is closing in on a first-team return after spending over a year out and is likely to be challenging Yiadom for the right-back spot.
With the Brazilian and Holmes back in contention, this will help to give the club some much-needed competition for the Ghanaian who isn’t guaranteed to stay fit throughout the remainder of the season.
Araruna’s return will be particularly satisfying for the Berkshire outfit after seeing him out for so long – and that feeling was mutual as the 25-year-old spoke to the club’s media team after Monday evening’s appearance.
He said: “I felt great – my knee feels good and everything is good. I know that there are a lot of things to improve by myself, but I’m really happy for my minutes and I really hope to look forward now.
“I have had tough months that I spent – now I just want to look forward. I don’t want to forget everything that I passed through, but now I am just looking to move on.”