PREVIEW: John Swift eyes momentum as Reading FC host Bolton

John Swift says Tuesday night’s victory over Birmingham City has given Reading the confidence boost required to get off the mark in the league.

The Royals sit bottom of the embryonic Championship table with two defeats from two against Derby and Nottingham Forest, but picked up a first win of the campaign with a 2-0 success over the Blues in the Carabao Cup.

John Swift scored a brilliant goal on Tuesday

And Swift, who was one of the scorers at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night along with Yakou Meite, feels that victory was vital for the squad as they prepare to welcome Bolton Wanderers on Saturday (3pm).

“It’s massive to get the first win,” said the midfielder.

“We need that now to push onto Bolton to get the first three points in the league. I think that’s massively needed.

“The win on Tuesday obviously gives us confidence to go into the league game and hopefully get the well needed three points that we need because we’ve played well in the last two league games.

“I think we’re a bit unlucky to come away with no points at the end of them. We really do need the three points on Saturday.

“I think momentum is the massive thing. I think we need to get a couple of wins in the league and give ourselves a good run.

“A couple of wins will make us more confident.”

Form

While both Reading and Bolton flirted with relegation until the final day last season, the pair have had contrasting fortunes so far.

The Royals are still seeking their first points of the campaign while the Trotters arrive in Berkshire unbeaten so far in the league.

Phil Parkinson’s men produced an opening day shock, winning 2-1 at freshly relegated West Bromwich Albion thanks to a late Yanic Wildschut winner.

They then backed that up by drawing 2-2 against Bristol City, but did lose 2-1 at Leeds United in the cup in midweek.

Previous meetings

Tom Holmes made his debut against Bolton last season

Last season’s corresponding fixture will be remembered for Jaap Stam’s mass team shake-up. Following a poor run of the results, the Dutchman handed a shock debut to teenager Tom Holmes while Anssi Jaakkola was selected in goal.

The game ended 1-1 with Mo Barrow’s strike cancelled out by former Royal Adam Le Fondre, while the reverse fixture also ended level last campaign, 2-2 thanks to late goals from Liam Moore and Leandro Bacuna.

Reading are unbeaten in eight matches against Bolton since a Premier League defeat in 2008.

Team news

Paul Clement is sweating on the fitness of a number of players ahead of the weekend.

Reading will be without Sone Aluko (adductor) while both Meite (ribs) and Barrow (groin) could also miss out after being forced off on Tuesday night.

Adrian Popa’s could make his first appearance of the campaign

That leaves the Royals with a lack of wingers as Garath McCleary and Callum Harriot are also still injured, but Adrian Popa is available.

Leandro Bacuna is expected to shake off an ankle knock to be involved in the squad but Chris Gunter, Jordan Obita and Dave Edwards are all still out.

A big selection dilemma comes at centre-back with Tiago Ilori, Paul McShane and Moore all battling for the two starting spots.

Bolton have fitness concerns of their own, notably key forward Sammy Ameobi who is nursing a hip injury and missed Tuesday’s cup defeat.

One man they will definitely be without is Le Fondre, who has just completed a move to Sydney FC.

Odds

Reading are favourites to pick up their first points of the season, priced at 21/20, while Bolton are 13/5 with the draw 12/5.

Sam Baldock and Marc McNulty looked sharp during Tuesday’s win over Birmingham and the latter is deemed the most likely scorer at 13/8, while Meite 6/1 to score first looks tempting after his midweek man-of-the-match display.

Follow @WokinghamSport and @TomJCrocker on Twitter this afternoon for updates from the ground and post-match reaction.

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