News and Views

Reading Head To Sunderland

11 December 2012
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading head to Sunderland tonight in their rearranged Premier League fixture. The first attempt was called off earlier this season due to a waterlogged pitch. The game seems certain to go ahead this time around, despite the temperature in Sunderland remaining below freezing throughout the day. It is the game in hand for both sides and gives an opportunity to gain some important points over relegation rivals. With both sides in the bottom three it's another obvious "six pointer". Only Sunderland can move out of the relegation positions with a win. Defeat for Reading would be their fifth straight league defeat and would leave them six points adrift of the next placed side, and in huge relegation trouble. Sean Morrison may be ruled out after injuring his ankle in the defeat to Southampton on Saturday. He joins Pogrebnyak, Gunter, Kebe and Karacan on an ever growing injury list as the troubles mount up for McDermott.

Sunderland have only managed to score six goals at home all season, picking up just a single win. Reading can't claim a much better record with seven away goals and no wins away from the Madejski. It would be fair to say this is not likely to be an exciting game for the neutral. Brian McDermott has been under plenty of pressure following Reading's poor run of form, but the pressure is far greater on Sunderland boss Martin O'Neil, who is hot favourite to be the next Premier League manager for the axe. Should Reading conjure up an unlikely second win of the season it would probably be fatal for O'Neil's leadership. McDermott has been given a near vote of confidence this week from the Reading board, so it's not looking too clever for him. However John Madejski is clearly being honest when we expects Brian to be in charge for weeks to come regardless of the results.

Both teams won 2-1 at home in the two Premier League fixtures in the 2007/2008 season, and Reading and Sunderland share a mixed recent history. If we were putting a bet on it would have to be on one of 0-0, 1-1 or a narrow Sunderland victory. With everyone so confident of more disappointment tonight it's difficult to see Reading coming away with three points. The trouble is, if we fail to win, we're set to be cut well adrift over the next couple of weeks with the next games against Arsenal and Manchester City certain to return precisely zero points. At the risk of repeating ourselves, yet again, this is a must win game for Reading.

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