View From The Town End Sunderland

Stu Forster

Well transfer deadline day may be gone but as Brian says 'We move on'. In this case, the next phase of the great escape involves beating Sunderland who visit the Madejski Stadium tomorrow. Ahead of the game we spoke to Simon from The Roker Report to get the Sunderland view on this weekend's game.

How have you viewed Sunderland's season so far?

Quite hit and miss so far this season. We started quite sloppily and while we didn't play badly there were not too many games where we were comprehensively outplayed. Things have picked up though now with five wins in the last eight, but even that run is littered with games like the two against Bolton and Liverpool away where we were abysmal.

Right now we're about as close to the relegation zone as we are to being comfortably in the top half. Games against your lot this weekend will go a long way towards deciding which end of the table we end up at.

Overall, it's been so-so. We expected more and while it hasn't quite been delivered, there's no reason to give up on the season yet.

You comprehensively smashed us 3-0 up at the Stadium of Light, what did you make of that game and of Reading?

I thought it was all too easy for us to be honest. I expected a lot more from Reading but I'm sure even you'll acknowledge that you were awful that day and it could have been a lot more. I expect a much tougher game this time around however as you seem to have picked up some good results of late and confidence should be relatively high.

(This one was asked pre-deadline day!) How's January gone for you were are you expecting any further transfers?

January has been ok. Alred N'Diaye looks the business in midfield and Kader Mangane should provide defensive cover and assurance that Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble simply can't. We've had plenty of out-goings and could do with a few more in, and I'm expecting us to do so. Danny Graham seems to be the one who O'Neill has his heart set on and I think he'll be a good addition to the squad.

How do the fans view the Martin O'Neil project over a year on?

Still very much on his side. He's still building his own squad and doing a very good job of shifting out some of the absolute dross left behind by Steve Bruce. I think he's added only players he wants in January, but the summer could be a very busy one as he looks to create his own vision for the club.

On to Saturday and who are Sunderland fans worried about from the Reading side?

I don't want to sound too hard on Reading but we're not really concerned with anyone to be honest. I'm sure the same could be said of us by your fans though too so don't worry there!

To pick out a couple though I think Pogrebnyak is superb signing and someone I would have wanted up here prior to him signing for your lot. He could be a danger and has scored against us a couple of times in the past.

The other would be Adam Le Fondre. I know he's not starting as much at the minute but he still provides a danger in that he seems very instinctive and knows where the goal is at all times. Someone like him coming off the bench if the scores are level could be cause for concern.

Any players Reading fans should be wary of?

I think every one knows what we're about. Fletcher might look quiet during the game but you can always count on him to put away most opportunities that come his way.

I'd also be wary of N'Diaye too. He's a big bugger and whilst most have him pegged (unfairly) as a Vieira clone, he's more of a Yaya Toure, if we're drawing lazy comparisons. Great engine, box-to-box and has already nearly got himself on the scoresheet for us in both games he's appeared.

Score prediction?

My head says this will be tough, my heart says we'll win. I think the head has to edge this one though and at the moment I can see a 1-1 draw which doesn't do any of us any favours.

Where do you see both sides ending the season?

I'd like to see Reading stay up, I really would. They're sort of likable in a way the likes of Villa aren't. I just hope you haven't left it too late for a fight back. I'll be optimistic for you though and say 16th. As for us, I think we'll have our hopes built up for 8th or 9th, but 11th or 12th looks more realistic.

Thanks again to Simon and you can follow the RR on twitter @RokerReport

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