Football League Championship: Reading One Point Away from Return to Top Flight

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 13, 2012

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Kaspars Gorkss (L) and Jimmy Kebe of Reading celebrate after the final whistle during the npower Championship match between Southampton and Reading at St. Mary's Stadium on April 13, 2012 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

It has been four years since fans of Reading FC have seen their club in the Premier League.

That wait is about to be over barring a complete catastrophe at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals currently sit atop the Championship table with 85 points, three points ahead of second place Southampton, and more importantly, nine points ahead of third place West Ham with three games to go.

That means that if Reading take one point out of their three remaining games, at home against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace and away on the final day of the season at Birmingham, they will clinch automatic promotion back into the Premier League.

The run to clinch the Championship title was made a bit easier on Friday as the Royals beat Southampton, 3-1 on the road to give the Royals their fifth straight win and 15th in their past 19 games.

Since the new year began, manager Brian McDermott has led his club to 46 points and they have cruised up to the top of the table and most likely into the top flight in England.

Reading has made this run as a team with no clear star player like past Championship winners QPR and Newcastle have had with Adel Taarabt and Andy Carroll as leading scorer Shane Long left the club in the summer for West Brom of the Premier League

The Royals have no goal-scorer totaling more than nine goals on the season and the roster is made up of players that have spent most of their careers in the lower tiers of English football.

Last time Reading won the Championship, they stayed in the Premier League for two years before being relegated with a club that featured Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, Stephen Hunt and Nicky Shorey, all who have had productive careers in the Premier League with other clubs.

As the 2011-12 season winds down and Reading gets closer and closer to the Premier League, the celebration of winning the Championship title will last a while but the cluster of emotions that come along with life in the Premier League are about to re-enter the Madejski Stadium.