'A big step in the right direction' - Royals ace keen to avoid sorrow against City

Stoke City's John Obi Mikel (left) and Reading's John Swift battle for the ball during the Sky Bet C

Reading midfielder John Swift in Championship action earlier this season - Credit: PA

Reading midfielder John Swift hopes disappointment will give way to an appreciation of overall progress when the Royals take on already promoted Norwich City. 

Drawing 2-2 at Swansea on Sunday brought an end to Reading’s play-off hopes, after spending the majority of the season in the top six under Veljko Paunovic. 

The Canaries know victory at Carrow Road on Saturday will seal the title but the visitors are facing up to a ninth season in the Championship. 

“We’re going to go out there and try to win the game,” said Swift. “Personally, I haven’t played a lot so I would look to go out there and get my fitness up as much as possible, hopefully get the win, or get a goal or two maybe. 

“It’s one of those games we’re going into and everyone knows the situation. Norwich are going up and we’re not going to make it into the play-offs, so everyone’s looking for a performance to build on and looking to next season."

The Royals have finished in the bottom half in all but one of the last six campaigns, so have made significant progress, but have only won one of their last nine games. 

City won 2-1 in Berkshire in December, with 2,000 supporters allowed inside the Madejski Stadium that night - although Swift missed that match with one of the hamstring injuries which have restricted him to just 12 appearances this season.

Emi Buendia put the leaders in front but Michael Olise equalised swiftly and it was a Teemu Pukki penalty in the 55th minute which proved decisive. 

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“We’re not going to be looking at the positives,” Swift said, speaking to his club's website. “We’ll be thinking about what went wrong and where in the season we might have slipped up a bit, or could have really built on what we did at the start of the season. We’ll think about where we could have nicked a 1-0 win here or there. 

“It’s a horrible feeling. Maybe 10 games ago we were thinking ‘we’re in the play-off spots, we’re playing well’ and then results and performances didn’t go our way and now we find ourselves here.  

“It’s something to look back on, but we definitely have to look back to the start of the season, and where we were this time last year. 

“We have definitely taken a big step in the right direction, maybe not the final step to the play-offs, but hopefully next season we can build on that.” 

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