The start of the Championship season is drawing ever closer and the mood among Reading FC supporters is mixed, to say the least.

After a relatively disappointing summer off the pitch, all eyes will soon turn towards league action as the Royals aim to improve upon last season's finish.

This may prove a tall order for Veljko Paunovic, who has not been able to bring in the reinforcements he would have liked to ahead of the new season.

To gauge the mood amongst Royals fans, we launched a survey asking a range of supporters about the key issues currently facing the club.

In part one, we will focus on the financial issues and transfer difficulties faced in the market during the off-season.

We asked Royals fans what they have thought of the last few months and how they feel the squad compares to this stage last season.

The majority of responses were from disgruntled fans who were unhappy with the summer period.

Over 80 per cent of those who responded believed the club is in a worse position compared to a year ago.

The majority of the concerns centred around, unsurprisingly, the squad depth at the Select Car Leasing Stadium

Fan Joe Parsons told the Reading Chronicle: "This summer period feels like it’s been non-existent. Apart from the renaming of the stadium and the release of the anniversary kit, there’s been nothing to really get us royal fans excited. 

"With the departure of 2 of our brightest sparks from last season, I feel there’s a huge void to be filled in this squad.

"We struggled massively with squad depth last season and I can’t see this season being any better. 

"Losing the goal contributions of Olise and just his moments of magic, alongside Richards’ effect on the team I think we could be in for a long season. 

"Losing Meite to injury so early on is a massive loss and again weakens our squad massively. I feel the starting 11 is slightly weaker than last season, but hopefully, a few signings in the next few weeks could change that!

Jacob Potter said: "It obviously looks thinner than it did last season. The loss of both Michael Olise and Omar Richards are massive blows this summer, and they'll leave sizable voids in the Reading team heading into the new season. 

"The summer period has been another frustrating one, with FFP restrictions limiting our movement in terms of potential incomings. 

"Having John Swift fully fit is a small boost, but we're going to be heavily reliant on our strongest XI staying fit for the majority of the campaign, which I just can't see happening with our track record. 

"The lack of squad depth concerns me heading into the season opener against Stoke City."

RFC Dan said: "I feel like we are in a really bad position, we have no first-team left-back and with Meite’s injury no right-sided midfielder. Really worrying especially considering our depth. 

"We didn’t have much depth last season but at least we had a starting XI, we need to show ambition."

Some Royals fans gave more positive and optimistic outlooks on the season ahead.

BishBashBobs said: "Olise and Richards are big losses for a minimal amount, that can’t happen again but they deserve the move.

"I feel the XI is weaker now as they would have been two key players. 

"But it’s a good chance for some youngsters to step up, our academy always does well. We still have a solid base of players to with, Joao, Ejaria Tmac and Rino. 

"We have a squad to build on."

James Davies wrote: "The squad is I feel just as strong, although we have lost Richards and Olise, we have an extra years experience in which we know what mistakes we made and now how to avoid them. 

"I think Olise isn't as big a loss as swift is more than capable in that position and Bristow has always looked promising. McIntyre also can provide cover in that position.

"I think our summer has been a success so far. 

"Eight million is a lot of money still and Baldock and Aluko off the wage bill is a huge plus. 

"We need to develop our youth as we don't have the money to throw around. Our academy is strong and this will benefit us.

Theo said: "I think the squad is probably what I expected it to look like following the departures and the transfer embargo that has been put on out spending.

"It is, of course, frustrating but this was a similar feeling to last season as well and we had a strong season. 

"Our width has been a problem for many years and is now even weaker following Olise’s departure, so I would say our squad is looking weaker, but we had a lot of injuries last year so if players like Swift can stay fit, I think we still have a strong first eleven.

Ryan Fox added: "Obviously I’m very disappointed to see both Richards and Olise go but I don’t think it’s the end of the world. Richards departure really shows the state of the club left by Gourlay. 

"I didn’t think that we had the biggest or most impressive squad last season but losing the two above would be a blow to anyone. Credit goes to Paunovic and the job he done last season with youth gives me confidence in what we have at the club now. 

"I am very excited to see who we bring in."