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Swift | "It’s a huge game, all the players know it"

Midfielder looks ahead to massive Millers match

20 February 2019

John Swift says the Royals are under no illusions about the magnitude of their vital clash against Rotherham United on Saturday afternoon.

Reading and the Millers face off at Madejski Stadium on Saturday separated only by goal difference either side of the bottom three in the Championship table.

And for Swift, whose next appearance for Reading will be his 100th for the club, spoke of the importance of the next three matches that could potentially go a long way to defining the season as a whole.

When asked if he agreed with the game being described as the biggest of the season, Swift said unequivocally: "Yeah, especially after the last game. I think Rotherham conceded in the 100th minute so it’s going to be massive because, if we win, we’ll go three points ahead of them.

“Then we have Ipswich after that, which will be a huge game as well. If we can win the next two games, it would be a massive confidence boost and a hit on the league as well – to hopefully get clear of the bottom three.

“It’s a huge game, all the players know it.

“When it’s first against second, if you lose you know you’ll still be second – but if we lose this, we know we’re in the relegation zone, and if we lose again, we could be even further in, then at the end of the season, everyone’s lives could change.

“There's pressure on being at the top because you want to show you’re the best team, but the pressure at the bottom is totally different.

“It doesn’t just affect players on the pitch, it effects the staff, the changing room, everyone at the training ground and the fans as well."

The playmaker is also aware of the threats Paul Warne's side will hold, with their direct approach paying dividends for them this season - particularly at home, but not quite to the same effect away from home so far this term.

The Millers scored late on in the reverse fixture against the Royals in South Yorkshire, pegging Reading back on a cold, wet afternoon at the New York Stadium.

Swift said the role of Reading supporters will be huge on Saturday, with everyone needed to help the team over the line - as evidenced when the Royals struck late to beat Blackburn last week.

“We’d kept a clean sheet up until the 81st minute against Blackburn and when they scored, we knew how much we needed to win that game," Swift added.

"But when we pushed on and scored again, with the fans going mad it gives you the extra boost you need.

“Rotherham will do anything possible to win. They have tactics of getting the ball forward as quickly as possible, playing off set pieces and getting the ball in the box.

“It will be massive for us to get the ball down and play, stop them from getting throw-ins, free-kicks, corners – because that’s where they get their goals.

“We need to get the ball down, tire them out and play, show them the quality we have on the ball and hopefully get the win.

“But nine times out of ten in the Championship it’s not like that, anything can happen.”

If you haven't yet secured your seat for a huge game in the context of Reading's season, click the button below to see pricing and booking information.

Rotherham United
Sky Bet Championship

Rotherham United

Saturday 23rd February, 3pm (Madejski Stadium)

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