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Sheffield Wednesday: In focus - Saturday's opponents Reading

Jaap Stam
Jaap Stam
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Since the middle of March Sheffield Wednesday have shown signs of progress under Jos Luhukay. The Owls are now safe and can already begin preparing for next season.

That is not the case with Paul Clement and Reading. One win from their final three games should ensure safety.

Here is everything you need to know about the Royals:

Manager

Last season Jaap Stam, in his first managerial role, led Reading to the brink of the Premier League only to be defeated in the play-off final. The Dutchman couldn't replicate form this campaign and left in March with the team in 20th.

Paul Clement's remit on taking over was to lead the club to safety.

Few managers in England, let alone the second tier, have a CV as impressive as the 46-year-old's. Assistant roles at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich where he was part of elite success.

He went out on his own when taking over Derby County. On paper he was doing a good job, having led the team to fifth, five points from the summit of the Championship with 30 games played.

Yet, Rams chairman Mel Morris cited a lack of progress for the reason to sack him.

His next position was at Swansea City where he was the club's third manager when he took over in January with the club in the relegation places. Leading the Swans to safety saw him nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season award.

He did not last long the following season after the club sold two of their best players.

One to watch

Clement saw one familiar face when he took over the club in March, winger Modou Barrow. The 25-year-old had been sold to Reading by Swansea in summer having spent time on loan at Leeds United during the 2016/2017 season.

He has been Reading main creative outlet and threat. Operating from the left he has netted 10 goals and chipped in with five assists in the league in what has been the most productive season since his arrival in England.

He is a keen dribbler, sitting 14th in the league for dribbles and 15th for success rate. He's also 20th for crosses.

Team news

On loan defender Tommy Elphick cold return to face Wednesday. The Royals, however, will be without captain Paul McShane, Garath McCleary, Jordan Obita, Callum Harriott and potentially Joseph Mendes.

Formation

Under Paul Clement Reading have played 4-3-3 or a variation of the system. With Mo Barrow and Sone Aluko playing wide the Royal look to stretch play but they are seen as a soft touch by many in the league who play with intensity against them.

Previous meeting

Fans planning to attend Hillsborough for the fixture will be hoping for a more exciting game than the league one at the Madjeski Stadium in November. The goalless draw hasn't lived long in the memory and was one of nine draws in the Owls' first 20 fixtures.

The clubs also met in the FA Cup fourth round at Hillsborough with Atdhe Nuhiu hitting a brace and George Boyd also on the score sheet in a 3-1 win. A Cameron Dawson own goal late on was Reading's one bright moment.

Form

The Royals' inconsistency has prevented them from edging towards safety. Their last six games have gone: D, L, L, W, L, W, L, D.

What the manager says

“I suppose I feel a bit calmer in myself having had the experience of last season with Swansea,” said Clement. “We had a couple of must-win games and, while last Saturday was important for us, we are not at that stage yet. We need to get points over the last three games to make sure we don’t get into that situation where we have to win games or there is a consequence."

Stats

Only second-bottom Burton Albion have recorded fewer shots than Reading's 403.