READING FC are one step closer to Championship safety after Barnsley’s defeat at Nottingham Forest last night.

Royals’ would have seen their lead over the relegation zone cut from five points to three with two games to go had the Tykes won their game in hand at the City Ground.

Barnsley would also have moved out of the bottom three themselves with a victory, but goals from Forest’s Lee Tomlin, Ben Brereton and Apostolos Vellios condemned the visitors to a comprehensive loss.

It leaves Reading 19th in the table on 43 points and five points in front of Barnsley in 22nd place, and with a superior goal difference.

Realistically, Paul Clement’s Royals now need one more point from their two remaining games to secure their Championship status for another season.

Clement’s men host mid-table Ipswich Town in the final home game at Madejski Stadium this Saturday (3pm) before travelling to Neil Warnock’s promotion-chasing Cardiff City on the last day of the campaign.

The Reading boss said: “We’re going to need a win from the last two matches just to make sure everything is fine and we are not relying on other results.

“When you do that you are playing a really dangerous game.”

Meanwhile, the date for Reading Under 23s’ Premier League 2 Division 2 play off clash at Aston Villa has been set.

Scott Marshall’s side will travel to Villa Park on Tuesday, May 1 (7pm ko) with a place in the PL2 top tier at stake.

Royals ended the regular season on a high after a hat-trick from 20-year-old striker Sam Smith secured a 3-1 victory over Stoke City at Madejski Stadium on Monday in front of the watching Clement.

Smith’s performance did his chances no harm of starting against the Tractor Boys this weekend.

Clement will be missing two players through suspension as Tyler Blackett serves the first of a three-match ban for his red card in the 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Leandro Bacuna is serving the last of his three-match suspension for his sending off in the 1-0 defeat at Fulham.

Defenders Paul McShane and Tommy Elphick are recovering from injuries but are unlikely to feature this weekend.