Sunderland (H) Match Preview
2nd February 2013
After another late show from the proclaimed 'comeback kings' Reading, it is back to reality as they face an important game against Sunderland at the Madejski Stadium. Martin O'Neill's side have shown dramatic improvement in the past few months that have dragged them away from the relegation mix, while the Royals have shown drastic improvement in recent games.
Reading manager Brian McDermott - 'They're fired up for it - every game my players are fired up. Sunderland are now in a comfortable position and Martin has once again done a great job.'
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill - "Hopefully we can return to the form we showed against Wigan, which wasn`t so long ago. Reading never give up and it will be a difficult task for us.'
Reading Team News:
Reading will once again monitor the fitness of striker Noel Hunt, after he missed out against Chelsea on Wednesday night due to injury. As expected, long term injury problems Jason Roberts and Alex McCarthy will not be considered for this fixture.
Player to watch: Hope Akpan
The January signing from Crawley made a great impact against Chelsea the other night, proving both assists for the goals. Brian could well reward him with a start in place of Jem Karacan tomorrow, which I wouldn't argue with.
Sunderland Team News:
On-loan Tottenham defender Danny Rose is struggling with a hamstring problem, so is likely to miss out. Captain Lee Cattermole is close to returning to training, but will not be considered for this game, along with defenders Carlos Cuellar and Wes Brown, who are long-term injury absentee's.
Player to watch: Danny Graham
The striker signed from Swansea on deadline day for £5 million and will have some convincing to do, after the Sunderland fans were not particularly impressed with his previous comments about the club. He could well start from the bench for this game, with Fletcher leading the line.
Match Facts & Stats
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Leigertwood, Akpan, Kebe, Guthrie, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback, Larsson, N'Diaye, Vaughan, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher
The referee for this game will be Lee Mason.
Both teams are not renowned for having a massive amount of shots on goal, so I can see us cancelling each other out for a lot of the game. However, with a certain Adam Le Fondre from the bench, I am confident we can nick a win. Vital Reading prediction: Reading 1 - 0 Sunderland
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