READING FC players have been thanking supporters for their backing over the season as they head into the summer break.

Royals' battle against relegation to League 1 went right down to the wire.

But a 0-0 draw at promoted Cardiff City yesterday was enough to secure their Championship status for another year.

Boss Paul Clement has already set out his plans for the summer and admitted a number of players are likely to leave for pastures new.

Clement, who earned eight points from his eight games in charge after replacing Jaap Stam, also wants to introduce a more attractive style of play next season to keep fans entertained.

Reading finished 20th in the table on 44 points after winning just 10 out of 46 Championship games.

Royals vice captain and ex-Cardiff player Chris Gunter tweeted: “Thanks for all the support during a real difficult season. Hasn’t been easy obviously but the backing is always appreciated. Enjoy the break and come back better next time.”

Goalkeeper Vito Mannone stated: “Finally safe. This season comes to an end. It has been a difficult one and we can't be happy but as usual in those circumstances you learn a lot and hopefully it'll help us in the coming one. Good clean sheet and performance today. Thanks to the great support.”

Centre back Liam Moore, who was voted Reading’s Player of the Year, said: “As a whole we haven’t been good enough this season but today was so important this club stayed in the Championship. Thank you to all the Reading fans that stuck with us.”

Winger Mo Barrow added: “This season wasn’t good enough but we learn from it and prepare ourselves better for next season. Wanna take the opportunity to say thanks to all the Reading FC fans for the support throughout the season we will be back stronger.”

Sunday’s clash at Cardiff City Stadium saw the return of Royals skipper Paul McShane from a knee injury following a near four-month lay-off.

The Republic of Ireland defender replaced Sone Aluko in the 83rd minute and helped Clement’s side keep a crucial clean sheet as Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds cranked up the pressure in the latter stages.

And after Royals’ Championship status was confirmed, McShane spent Sunday night buying drinks for supporters at Reading’s Gateway Irish pub.

McShane, 32, tweeted: “Glad this season’s over & done with and good to be back on the pitch after such a long time out. Man of my word, now we’re safe, drinks on me tonight 8-9ish at The Gateway Irish Pub, Greyfriars Rd. Hope to see a few of ya’s there!”

More than 2,000 Reading fans made the trip to South Wales and there was a familiar face among the travelling support as they were joined by former keeper Ali Al-Habsi.

Al-Habsi, who now plays for Saudi Arabia side, Al Hilal, was Royals’ Player of the Year for the two season he spent with the club.