Stam on midfielder’s availability…Royals boss Jaap Stam confirmed that midfield playmaker John Swift is edging ever closer to a return to fitness – but whether he’ll be available again for our Boxing Day meeting with Norwich remains to be seen.
The England Under-21 international has been sidelined in recent weeks after picking up an injury on international duty. And while the gaffer is looking forward to welcoming him back to the group, he knows that Reading will need to take a cautious approach.
“He has been starting to train outside this week,” said the gaffer. “We need to have a look this week at how far he is and what he can do, and if it is reasonable for him to join in with the squad for the game against Norwich.
“Everybody knows how he is as a player and what he can do, because he has proven himself when he was fit and playing for us. He is an important player for the squad – he has got certain qualities. Other players have done well in his position when he was injured as well, so we need to keep that in mind as well.
“We need to think about what the most sensible thing is for us – whether that’s to involve him, or to wait another week to get him back into good shape to start again.”
The gaffer also paid tribute to the work of the medical team at Hogwood Park, who are constantly tasked with helping injured players to recover as well as working to prevent injuries occurring in the first place.
“It’s a very tough job,” said Jaap. “If you work with players who are always wanting to play, and they get injuries, they are thinking about themselves – that’s normal. They all want to be in the first XI, and that’s normal.
“The doctors and the physios get a lot of hassle from those players as well – not in a bad sense. Players want to get treated and to get fit as possible – sometimes they need a bit of extra rest or extra treatment.
“They physios have done a great job up until now in keeping the players fit, and getting injured players back into the squad as quickly as they could. So a lot of compliments to them on how they have been working this season.”
Hoping to be part of the crowd on Boxing Day? Here’s a reminder of a few important points…
It’s set to be our biggest home crowd of the season, so there will be a lot of traffic on the roads leading to Madejski Stadium – so give yourself plenty of time to get in.
And the Ticket Office will be a lot busier than usual – there’ll be a lot more collections than usual (because of the limited Christmas post). So to avoid any long queues, we would strongly advise to arrive for 1.30pm.
There are now very few tickets remaining – availability is very limited in all areas of the ground. Most available spaces are now just single seats. So make sure you book yours at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.
Plan your journey!
Don’t forget, there are no trains running on Boxing Day. Football buses are in operation and other routes are operating a Sunday service, while there is extra parking availability thanks to Costco, who are donating their proceeds to BBC Children in Need.
For more information about travel to this fixture, click here.