Reading led the Championship table after 11 games last season and spent almost all of the campaign inside the top six before a poor run of form in the final two months meant they missed out on the playoffs by seven points and ended seventh.
Nonetheless, after finishing 14th the year before, there were certainly huge signs of improvement under Veljko Paunovic, who had been appointed just a week before the start of the campaign.
The Serbian will now be tasked with pushing further up the table, as the club’s demanding Chinese owners seek promotion to the Premier League.
However, that that will not be easy considering the limited funds available to him due to Financial Fair Play rules and Reading are yet to dip into the transfer market this summer.
The Royals will also face Aberdeen, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic in pre-season before their Championship schedule begins with a visit to Stoke City on August 7.
For Lincoln, a trip to Berkshire will be a reminder of what could have been, as the Imps came agonisingly close to promotion to the Championship last season.
After finishing fifth in the League One table, they beat Sunderland over two legs in the playoff semi-final before losing 2-1 to Blackpool in the final, despite taking the lead within 50 seconds at Wembley.
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As with Reading though, objectively it was an excellent campaign for Lincoln, with Michael Appleton surprising many with the success he brought to Sincil Bank.
However, like their opponents on Saturday, things may be trickier in 2021-22; the Imps have already lost last year’s top scorer Jorge Grant to Peterborough, while star loanees Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers have returned to their parent clubs.
This is the second time in three years that Reading and Lincoln have faced off in pre-season after doing battle in the sunnier surroundings of Marbella in 2019; they have not met in a competitive setting since 1999