Fixture Release Day is just around the corner, and the anticipation is building for the Royals to find out their 2019-20 schedule.
And for lifelong Reading supporter, Tom McIntyre, there's an added edge to this year's fixtures. Having been around the squad for the final part of the season, he is looking at the fixtures coming out not just from a fan's perspective, but as a player.
Having joined our Academy at the age of 8, along with several of his fellow young Royals hoping to catch José Gomes' attention in pre-season, the Scotland U21 international cannot wait to get back to training ahead of the new season.
On the gap in fixtures, he said: “I’ve been away with my girlfriend and been doing my gym work. I’ve had a good, relaxing time off, but I’m looking forward to getting back now.
“I’ve had an off-season programme that’s been a day-by-day thing – gym sessions, running sessions, it’s tough on your own but I enjoy the challenge of that.
“You feel good after it, you get a sense that you’re getting fitter and I’m really enjoying it."
With the fixtures set to be released, there are six new clubs to look out for after promotion from League One and relegation from the Premier League have been confirmed.
Such is the geography of the new teams in the Championship, the Royals will have around 10% fewer miles to travel - and McIntyre says he will be looking out for the games where it'll be easier for a large number of Royals to travel away from home.
“There’s a few more London clubs now like Fulham, but I’ve also heard a lot about Luton and seen some pictures on Twitter from there," he continued.
“Their stadium looks quite intimate, like it would be a good atmosphere. I think the London clubs would be the ones I’ll be looking for – going with a lot of away fans. If I’m not in the squads, I’ll be wanting to go myself, to be fair!
“I’ll be looking for the first game, the ones around Christmas and the last ones – they’re the most important ones, I feel.
“The Christmas run is quite a busy time and an important one for the club in terms of getting points on the board."
Having recovered from a head injury on his senior debut at Rotherham in December, McIntyre featured in the matchday squad regularly towards the end of the last campaign.
Now that he has experienced a first team environment, he says that has only fuelled the fire further as he looks to establish himself in the heart of the Reading defence.
He'll be looking at Fixture Release Day with two minds: his Royals-supporting mindset, and that of the player as he hopes to play a part in 2019-20.
“There’s definitely an added excitement because that’s where I’ve wanted to be throughout my whole life, really. Hopefully I’ll get a chance.
“I’ve realised the importance of first-team football, now that I’ve been round that environment. You realise how much is on the line and how much hard work goes into it behind the team that plays on a Saturday.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve grasped it, taken it all in and taken a lot from it. In myself, I feel like I’ve always been ready to make the next step – I have quite a lot of self-confidence, I feel ready if the chance comes about.”