Since their desperately disappointing play-off defeat in 2017, you can’t help but feel as though Reading missed their best and only chance of reaching the Premier League again at least for some time.
Since that third-place finish, they have finished 20th both seasons and rather narrowly evaded the woes of relegation.
Though, despite only just escaping relegation and being amongst the lowest scorers and worst defences, some might feel that this will serve as a key season for Reading and exactly what they needed to at least begin their journey back to where they were seven seasons ago.
It is going to be a long journey nevertheless as Reading clearly aren’t in the position to challenge for promotion in the Championship and may not be for some time.
Their terrible first half of the season under Paul Clement left them almost destined for relegation until Jose Gomes took charge and turned things around.
His appointment has brought a change in mood at the Madejski and whilst his win percentage isn’t actually much greater than Clement’s, his style of football has definitely began to bring excitement back to the Reading supporters.
Gomes has lost just six of his opening 21 games and saved his side from relegation.
Perhaps more importantly though, he has started to make the attacking players play better.
Yakou Meite, in particular, has thrived under the fresh face of Gomes and been the driving force behind Reading’s late surge into Championship security.
If the Portuguese manager can inspire his players within weeks of his arrival, who knows what he may be able to do with an entire summer of training and preparation.
He will be left to deal with the undeniable worry Reading have of Lewis Baker returning back to Chelsea after his loan spell at the club.
His absence next season will leave a gaping hole in the heart of midfield that must be filled with the sufficient quality vacated by Baker.
Gomes has built up a good book of contacts working with the likes of Porto and Malaga and may rely on these same contacts to bring in much needed quality, to ensure his team avoid another relegation scrap.