Reading manager Brian McDermott says achieving promotion this season makes last year’s play-off heartache worthwhile.
The Royals put an incredible run together at the end of last season to reach the play-offs with time to spare. They beat Cardiff City before meeting Swansea City for a place in the Premier League. Swansea won the final and promotion to the top flight, leaving Reading crestfallen.
McDermott’s side appeared to be nursing a play-off hangover at the start of the current campaign – losing four of their first six games – but picked up as Christmas approached and have won 15 out of their last 17 to seal promotion back to the Premier League following a four-year absence.
A 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium confirmed their return to the big league, something McDermott could not have imagined last summer.
"It's an exciting time and a great night for the club. I couldn't see too much good in losing that play-off final at Wembley last year, but perhaps this is meant to be," he said.
The Royals boss admitted it took him a while to get over the Wembley disappointment and is ready to savour the feeling of promotion.
"Losing at Wembley took me a couple of months to get over, but this makes it all worthwhile. It tests your resolve and it shows you what you are about as people," McDermott added.
"Since the seventh game of the season we've been the best team in this division by a long, long way. It's difficult to enjoy yourself as a manager but I can do tonight."
Reading still have something to play for before the season is out. Four more points from their last two games would clinch the Championship title and cap off an incredible season.
Football bookie odds have Reading pencilled in to have a tough time in the Premier League next year. However recent promoted clubs including Norwich and Swansea have taken to the Premier League with suprising grace and defied football predictions.