Reading - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats seek to put an end to Royals' unbeaten run

Brian McDermott's side have climbed out of the relegation zone having avoided defeat for five games but welcome the equally in-form Wearside outfit to the Madejski Stadium


Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Guthrie, Leigertwood
Kebe, McAnuff, McCleary
Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback
Larsson, N'Diaye, Vaughan, Johnson

Reading could name an unchanged line-up, with no new injury worries in addition to Alex McCarthy (shoulder) and Jason Roberts (hip), though Noel Hunt (knock) could also miss out.

Hope Akpan and Adam Le Fondre have been highly effective substitutes in recent matches and so could again feature from the bench here.

However, home advantage could prompt the inclusion of Garath McCleary as a third attacking midfielder in place of the more defensive Jem Karacan.

Sunderland have named a settled line-up in recent weeks and could field the same XI on Saturday, with midfielder Jack Colback covering for left-back Danny Rose (hamstring), who is doubtful.

Meanwhile, Carlos Cuellar (hamstring) and Wes Brown (knee) remain a long-term absentees whilst captain Lee Cattermole (knee) is yet to return to full fitness.

Deadline-day arrival Danny Graham could make his debut.

  • Reading have won four of their last five matches in all competitions.
  • Brian McDermott’s side began a similarly effective run towards the end of January last year, winning 15 of their last 19 league matches to seal top spot in the Championship.
  • Adam Le Fondre has scored six goals as a substitute this season, the most in the top-flight, and has netted seven goals after the 70th minute in Premier League games, the joint most along with Robin van Persie. The striker has now scored five of the Royals’ last six goals from just seven attempts.
  • Sunderland have lost just two of their last seven league games to move nine points clear of the drop, and are now unbeaten in their last three league games.
  • Ten-goal top-scorer Steven Fletcher (pictured right) has scored ten of Sunderland’s total of 27 goals in the Premier League, 37% of the Black Cats’ total.
  • The August meeting between the two teams was cancelled due to heavy rain and rescheduled for December, when Sunderland ran out 3-0 winners at the Stadium of Light thanks to goals from James McClean, Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon.
  • The last time the two clubs met in the Premier League was in 2007-08, when each side won 2-1 at home.