Saturday, August 25, 2012
Stadium of Light
TV: Highlights BBC ONE Match Of The Day
Sunderland (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Mignolet, Richardson, O'Shea, Cuéllar, Gardner, McClean, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Sessegnon, Campbell.
Out: Phil Bardsley (ankle)
Tests: Wes Brown (ankle) and James Vaughan (hernia).
Reading (Possible, 4-3-3): Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Karacan, Leigertwood, Guthrie, McAnuff, McCleary, Pogrebnyak
Out: Jem Karacan (broken ankle) and Jimmy Kébé (hamstring)
Sunderland confirmed the signing of Steven Fletcher from Wolves around lunchtime on Friday, but he is unlikely to start although being available for selection. Luis Saha however was a substitute against Arsenal last weekend and could be in line for his first Black Cats start if O'Neill decides to make changes up top.
Reading manager McDermott has no fresh injury worries and can also welcome striker Jason Roberts back from suspension but a calf issue, coupled with a lack of match fitness, means the 34-year-old is unlikely to be involved in the manager's starting XI.
All of Wearside breathed a sigh of relief when Martin O’Neill has finally managed to find a striker this week, although eyebrows have also been raised at the size of the fee paid to Wolves for Steven Fletcher. The Scotland international will probably have to start paying back the £12m fee from the bench as he only completed his switch on Friday. O'Neill will now focus his attention on trying to sign Manchester City winger Adam Johnson. Reading have started life back in the Premier League well enough, but a battling defeat at Chelsea in midweek will have been mentally and physically draining after a draw at home to Stoke on the opening day.
Sunderland have failed to score in six of their last eight Premier League matches.
The only teams to win at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League since Martin O’Neill arrived at Sunderland are Arsenal and Manchester United.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick. Matches (last season): 39, Red cards: 8, Yellow cards: 98
Stat of the game: Martin O'Neill saw his side pick up 22 points from his first 10 games in charge, but they have pocketed just 13 in their last 15 Premier League outings.
Prediction: Sunderland 2 Reading 0, Luke Edwards.