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🔜 Ahead of the game | Swans land at the Madejski

It's Swansea on a Sunday as the Royals find themselves in front of the Sky cameras once again

23 April 2021

There's just the three games left to contest for the Royals, and once more the television crews are back in town as Swansea City travel across the border to the Madejski for our Sunday lunchtime meeting with Steve Cooper's side.

The Swans, a team we earnt a point against back in December, have been in contention for a shot at promotion from the off and will provide a stern test for Veljko Paunovic's men who will be keen to end the month by getting back to winning ways.

A win and three points would offer a huge boost to our hopes of finishing the season strongly, and continuing our fight for a top six spot while still mathematically possible.

How to watch

Sunday's 12pm kick-off against the Jacks has been selected for live coverage by Sky Sports, which means on this occasion supporters will not be able to watch via iFollow.

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If you’re not a Sky subscriber, you can get a Day Pass on NOW TV for 24 hours’ worth of access to all 11 Sky Sports channels.

The opposition

Steve Cooper's second season at the helm at the Liberty Stadium has again been one that has seen the Swans milling in and around the top spots, and they look set to contest another play-off campaign this season. Sunday's visitors are already six points better off than they were at the end of last season and they'll be eager to finish strongly to get over the line.

Swansea's form of late has been mixed and the Jacks have suffered three defeats in their last five which has seen the automatic promotion places escape them with three games left to play.

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During the week, Cooper's side were defeated at home to QPR, as the R's, one of the divisions in-form teams came away from South Wales with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a late Lyndon Dykes strike.

Swansea's last win came just under two weeks ago when they progressed past relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday with a 2-0 win at Hillsborough. Jamal Lowe and Jay Fulton found the net to see off the Owls.

One to watch: Conor Hourihane

Since arriving at the Liberty Stadium in January in a loan switch from Premier League side Aston Villa, former-Sunderland youngster Hourihane has hit the ground running with the Swans. The 30-year-old midfielder has netted five times during 17 appearances to date in a Jacks shirt.

The Republic of Ireland international has registered over 100 appearances for Plymouth Argyle, Barnsley and current club Villa in a successful career that has so far spanned across 14 years.

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Hourihane, who has 24 Irish caps to his name, has previously enjoyed promotion to the Championship while with the Tykes in 2016, and to the Premier League with the Villans in 2019.

The creative middle man and former Barnsley captain has added plenty to Swansea's play-off chasing squad - having gained over 30 appearances in the top tier with Villa across the last two years. The Cork-born man has an eye for goal and provides a threat from set-peices.

Head-to-head

The Royals will be looking to break their duck against the Swans, having failed to beat the South Wales outfit in any of their last 14 attempts, dating back over 10 years to January 2009.

Our last win over Sunday's visitors came in September 2008, and it was an emphatic one at that. Kevin Doyle (2), Stephen Hunt and Noel Hunt all hit the target to fire the dominant Royals to a 4-0 victory at the Madejski.

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When they met earlier in the season, the two sides played out a fiercely contested goalless draw back in late December at the Liberty Stadium. 

Both teams have won 33 and drawn 16 of a total 82 meetings between them, dating back to our first meeting back in March 1921.

Ref watch

Simon Hooper will be the man in charge on Sunday afternoon for what will be his first Reading game of the season, having officiated largely in the Premier League this season.

Hooper last took charge of a Royals fixture back in January 2020, a 1-1 draw away at Cardiff City.

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Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett will help out Hooper in RG2, while Stephen Martin will act as his fourth official.

Hooper has taken charge of 22 games so far this season, during which he has issued 52 yellow cards, but no red cards.

Notes from STAR

Supporters' Trust at Reading have put together their 'programme notes' ahead of the game, which you can access by clicking here.

Reminder

A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to Madejski Stadium.

We can’t wait to see you all again soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.


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