Brian McDermott's side has climbed out of the relegation zone having avoided defeat for five games but welcomes the equally in-form Wearside outfit to the Madejski Stadium.
Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Kebe, McAnuff, McCleary
Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback
Larsson, N'Diaye, Vaughan, Johnson
Reading could name an unchanged lineup, 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-field advantage could prompt the inclusion of Garath McCleary as a third attacking midfielder in place of the more defensive Jem Karacan.
Sunderland has named a settled lineup 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 while captain Lee Cattermole (knee) is yet to return to full fitness.
All eyes will be on Danny Graham, to see if the deadline-day arrival makes his debut after joining the Black Cats from Swansea.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Reading has won four of its last five matches in all competitions.
- Brian McDermott’s side began a similarly effective run toward the end of January last year, winning 15 of its last 19 league matches to seal the top spot in the Championship.
- Adam Le Fondre has scored six goals as a substitute this season, the most in the top flight, and he has netted seven goals after the 70th minute in Premier League games, tied for the most along with Robin van Persie. The striker has now scored five of the Royals’ last six goals from just seven attempts on frame.
- Sunderland has lost just two of its last seven league games to move nine points clear of the drop, and the Black Cats are now unbeaten in their last three league games.
- Ten-goal top scorer Steven Fletcher (pictured right) has scored 10 of Sunderland’s total of 27 goals in the Premier League, 37 percent 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 before that was in 2007-08, when each side won 2-1 at home.