Reading manager Veljko Paunovic has hinted at a surprise return this week for John Swift, who has been missing since the start of February.
The 25-year-old has barely featured this season due to his injury struggles, having missed three months of the campaign due to a hamstring injury, before returning to the team in December for a seven-game stint.
But disaster struck again in February as he suffered a recurrence of the initial problem that kept him out of action for the first few months of the season, with Paunovic saying that Swift would be out for ‘at least’ six weeks but the fears were that it would be longer due to his woes months ago.
However Swift looks to be on track with his recovery and Paunovic slipped it into his media commitments this weekend that the plans are for the attacking midfielder to return in a big top six clash against Barnsley on Good Friday.
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“We are projecting the return of Morro (Michael Morrison), of Swift and of (Andy) Yiadom for the week of Barnsley and hopefully, that can happen,” Paunovic told BBC Radio Berkshire, via GetReading.
“But definitely, we have to look at what we have in the next eight games – or four weeks – where our season is going to be decided.”
With the Royals having not won in three games, Swift’s impending return could be the creativity boost they need going forward as they aim to solidify their play-off claims.
Swift’s return will be a welcome relief to Reading fans, but he can’t just be rushed back.
If he is, the the midfielder could just easily break down again like he did just a month or so after returning from his first injury of the season.
We’re now coming up to a crucial part of the season which will define the Royals – aside from Barnsley they’ve got tough fixtures against Watford, Norwich and Swansea before the end of the season and if they want to have the best chance of finishing in the top six, Swift will have to be managed very carefully.