COME 5pm on Saturday afternoon, Reading fans could be celebrating their team reaching the play-offs if they beat Nottingham Forest.

It's been a remarkable turnaround for Royals, after two long seasons of languishing near the bottom of the table.

This time last season Reading were in awful form with only five wins in 2016 and only taking 21 points out of a possible 57.

Reading would go on to take one point from their last three games with the team finishing a lowly 17th place in the table.

A few weeks after the season finished, Reading manager Brian McDermott was sacked for a second time following the team's poor form.

Earlier in the season Steve Clarke was also sacked following one win in his last eight games and also for having talks with Fulham regarding their vacant manager’s job.

This season has been incredible for Jaap Stam's team.

Monday's win against Rotherham was their 16th home win of the season – compared to the last season Royals were promoted, Reading won 15 home games.

A complete rebuild in the summer saw the appointment of technical director Brian Tevreden, and the Dutchman was instrumental in attracting young quality players on a limited budget.

Players such as John Swift, who has gone to be a key player with nine goals and eight assists in all competitions.

It could be argued that without Tevreden, Reading would not have been able to compete with other clubs for his signature.

Tevreden has done such a good job that he has attracted interest from other clubs.

Derby County were linked with prizing him away from the Madjeski, but the Rams never followed up their interest.

I now turn to the appointment of Jaap Stam.

When the former Manchester United defender was appointed there were lots of concerns he wasn't the right man for the job and that he was too inexperienced.

However, Stam has turned the fortunes of the club around with his possession-based style of play.

The board took a gamble on Stam, but that huge decision to appoint him has paid off massively.

At times it has not been pretty, with the 5-0 defeat at Fulham and 7-1 loss at Norwich being sore points of the season.

But Stam has installed a mentality in the team which gets the players to bounce back when the going gets tough.

The 3-1 win against Aston Villa on Saturday was an example of this.

Right to the final whistle the players showed passion and desire to win the three points.

Reading were comfortable at Villa Park, with the hosts rarely threatening Ali Al-Habsi's goal.

In my view it was one of the best performances away from home this season.

When the season first started there was doom and gloom with some fans expecting the Royals to be involved in a relegation battle.

However, all credit must go to Stam and his backroom team for delivering such a memorable season for the Reading faithful, who have found it tough going in recent years.

Stam has got the very best out of the players.

Yann Kermorgant for example never really looked confident when he first joined last season.

However the Frenchman has been another key player with 14 goals this season.

Can the Dutchman do the unthinkable and get Reading promoted in his first season as a manager? I'm not so sure.

But from now until the end of the season let's enjoy the last three league games and if we do make to the play-offs let's enjoy the occasion.

Because after all the play-offs are a lottery.