It is interesting contrasting Reading with Aston Villa right now. The Royals are one point and one place behind with a game in hand following Tuesday night’s action.
But while Villa seem locked into a downward spiral of discontent, Reading are showing signs of acquiring a genuine upward sense of momentum.
With Chelsea coming to the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday maintaining such a sense will be easier said than done. But in their recent form Brian McDermott’s men can find cause to be optimistic.
For a little while hope seemed like it would remain elusive as Reading lost seven on the trot starting in late November. The last of that run saw them lose heartbreakingly away to Manchester City; Gareth Barry scored the match’s only goal in stoppage time when a valuable point looked on the cards.
Since that game they have won three of their five Premier League outings. Last time out they got the better of Newcastle United, a win that was vital in them keeping touch with the teams immediately outside the relegation zone.