News and Views
Fifth Win In Six As Royals Climb Table
16 October 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?
A brilliant solo goal from John Swift after seventy-seven minutes secured another win for a below par Reading in a match which looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw. A now fully fit Scott Dann was the unlikely provider of the assist of which Swift took full advantage. Controlling the ball on his chest a making a direct run at the Barnsley goal, Swift waltzed through the Barnsley defence and past Barnsley 'keeper Collins, before clinically drilling the ball past Helik on the line. The goal provided the only real moment of real quality in game of erratic passing and poor finishing from both sides. From a Reading perspective nobody will be concerned about the performance after making it five wins out of six taking the Royals to within one point of the top six.
Royals midfield ace John Swift attracting top-flight attention
01 October 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?
EFL Championship top scorer John Swift is rumoured to have caught the eye of multiple Premier League teams since the start of the 2021/22 campaign. With seven goals in his first eight appearances this term, the Royals would have been in a spot of bother had it not been for the 26-year-old's goals. Having been at the Select Car Leasing Stadium since 2016, Swift appears to be entering the prime of his five-year spell, having joined Reading from Chelsea following a successful loan spell at Brentford.
Swift is now in the last 12 months of his current contract with the Royals, so his blistering start to the season will heap pressure on Reading's hierarchy to either offer him a new deal or decide whether to sell him in the January transfer window. A trio of top-flight outfits are thought to be keeping tabs on Swift's progress, with former loan club Brentford one of them, along with Aston Villa and Newcastle United.
With Swift set to be available on a free transfer next summer, Newcastle would certainly be a credible destination given their lack of financial muscle in recent seasons. It has been something of a struggle for Magpies boss Steve Bruce in the transfer market, with the club's controversial owner Mike Ashley permitting just one big-money signing in the shape of Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock.
The 21-year-old has no doubt brought a spark to the Magpies after a successful loan spell last season. In Newcastle's recent home clash with Leeds leading football tipster Tom Love, who provides betting predictions across the EPL, Championship and beyond, tipped Willock to score at any time against Marcelo Bielsa's Whites. Although Willock didn't score, Newcastle held Leeds to a 1-1 draw, which will unlikely appease the fans that continue to call for Bruce's departure. There is certainly a sense that the Magpies would benefit from the box-to-box abilities of Swift however, considering the lack of form and fitness of the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jeff Hendrick.
Swift could be an ideal option for Brentford's progressive squad
It's also unsurprising to see Brentford's scouts keeping tabs on Swift. His seven-goal return in 27 appearances for the Bees in 2015/16 made him hot property that Reading were able to snare on an initial three-year deal. The Bees have made a hugely encouraging start to life in the EPL, picking up eight points from their first five games in the top-flight. This included an impressive home victory over Arsenal on the opening day of the season.
Brentford's savvy transfer recruitment is heralded by many as the reason behind the Bees' rise through the English football pyramid. Owner Matthew Benham made his millions in the sports betting industry and has long specialised in making data-driven sports decisions. For several seasons now, Brentford have signed players based largely on a player's data attributes. Head coach Thomas Frank then has the role of moulding those players into a cohesive unit. Ivan Toney is a perfect case in point - a player that had shown huge promise in League One with Peterborough United and was plucked from relative obscurity to help take the Bees into the EPL. Frank and the Bees' recruitment department may look at Swift's data and realise that his performances are maturing and that he is developing a greater consistency to his output at both ends of the pitch.
Recently relegated Sheffield United tried very hard to secure the services of John Swift in this summer's transfer window. Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic is said to be a keen admirer of Swift's talents and although the deal was never completed, Jokanovic and United continue to hold a strong interest.
Reading's precarious financial situation is well-documented. Despite his impressive form and his importance to Reading's 2021/22 season, selling Swift in January could be essential in keeping the Royals afloat. Swift would slot seamlessly into Brentford or Villa's system due to their possession-based game. Whether he would fit as well under Steve Bruce's regime on Tyneside remains to be seen, but after a bout of injuries Swift certainly deserves another crack at the big time as he enters his prime.
Another Win Despite Injuries And Off-Pitch Worries
25 September 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Without a single recognised centre back available, and a makeshift pairing of Laurent and Yiadom at the heart of the defence, Reading kept their first clean sheet of the season and extended their unbeaten run to four games. A second half strike by Halilovic gave the Royals their third successive victory as they moved into the top half of the table. Reading played some superb flowing football at times and sliced open the Middlesbrough defence on several occasions. Had their finishing matched their approach play they could have won comfortably. With so many accomplished players on the pitch and Swift pulling the strings in centre of midfield the quality of Reading's passing and movement was mesmerising at times. Considering the threat of a points deduction hanging over them, a transfer embargo and an ever growing list of injured regular first choice players, it was a remarkable performance.
Reading Get Second Win Of Season
14 September 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?
An exquisite free kick by John Swift after sixty-four minutes brought this dour struggle to life and sparked a furry of late goals to secure Reading's much needed second victory of the season. Having broken the deadlock, Puscas set up Dele-Bashiru for Reading's second three minute later as Peterborough fell apart. The visitors managed to recover their composure and pulled a goal back through Thompson with a far post header. Given the frequency with which the Royals have conceded late goals recently, the home fans could be forgiven for fearing another late collapse. Learning from recent disasters Reading managed the game well and went for a third goal which duly arrived in spectacular fashion from Dele-Bashiru two minutes from the end of normal time. Swift slipped him a pass outside the box and Peterborough gave him sufficient time and space to beat Pym with an outstanding dipping and swerving strike.