Reading season preview 2023/24: Why the Royals will have to rebuild before dreaming of promotion

Reading season preview 2023/24 Andy Carroll of Reading FC celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Reading and Birmingham City at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 07, 2023 in Reading, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Reading season preview 2023/24 is one of rebuilding, with Royals owners Dai Yongge facing intense scrutiny as the club drops down from the Championship due to a points deduction. 

Having started pre-season with a wafer-thin squad and off-field concerns, it’s unlikely Reading will bounce back straight away from League One, even if new manager Ruben Selles works wonders. 

With Tom Ince gone, 2023/24 is about laying the ground work for a more sustainable future - though that might depend on Yongge selling the club. 

Reading season preview 2023/24, the fan's view: Simon Pickup (@TheTilehurstEnd)

The big talking point is owner Dai Yongge, who has increasingly lost the fans’ faith due to mismanagement and charges from the Football League. We really hope he will sell up ASAP. 

Our key player will be Tom Holmes, who’s become a dependable, modern and versatile centre-half. 

Our most underrated player is Andy Yiadom: dynamic and experienced. 

Fans think our owner is naive, distant and reckless. The Royals have gone drastically backwards on his watch. He has trusted the wrong people, barely communicated with supporters, and gambled massively by overspending with no long-term strategy. 

The thing my club really gets right is the academy – it’s superb for a club of our size, has produced some real gems such as Michael Olise, and is regarded highly by other outfits.

Tom Holmes of Reading celebrates after the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Swansea City at Madejski Stadium on December 27, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Tom Holmes of Reading (Image credit: Getty Images)

The active player I’d love to have back is John Swift. We never replaced his creativity and goal threat. 

Look out for 19-year-old right-back Kelvin Abrefa – an energetic, positive player who can also fill in at centre-half, wing-back or in midfield. 

The player I’d happily drive to another club is Andy Carroll. A nice guy who works hard, but he limits the side tactically. 

The fans’ opinion of the gaffer is underwhelmed. We were disappointed to see a tantalisingly close move for Chris Wilder fall through, so rookie Ruben Selles has a lot of doubters to win over early doors.

Ruben Selles during Southampton's victory over Southampton

Ruben Selles has been drafted in as Reading's new manager (Image credit: Getty Images)

If he left, he should be replaced by Graeme Murty, as it feels inevitable that he will become our manager one day. He’s a fan favourite who has vast experience of developing players and who learned from the best manager English football has ever seen – Steve Coppell, of course. 

I’m least looking forward to playing Stevenage. We haven’t played them that often, and yet they’ve had a habit of finding a surprise win against us. 

The pantomime villain will be former close rivals Oxford, as we’ll finally be playing them again after a two-decade gap. Supporters have been desperate for a good ol’ local derby. 

We’ll finish 7th, falling just short

Season previews for the Premier League, League One and League Two are all available HERE

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future. 

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