clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

View From The Town End - Sunderland (A)

Sunderland kept Arsenal at bay in their opening Premier League game on Saturday and will be looking to keep the Royals out this weekend.
Sunderland kept Arsenal at bay in their opening Premier League game on Saturday and will be looking to keep the Royals out this weekend.

Tuesday night provided plenty of drama but sadly yielded no points for Brian McDermott's side. This weekend we travel to Sunderland hoping for our first three points of the season and ahead of the game we spoke to Sunderland fan Simon Walsh from The Roker Report.

How did you rate your opening day draw against Arsenal?

It was a very good point for us. We went out and played exactly as I expected us to - nice and deep, kept our shape well etc - and it worked a treat. Barring the chance for Giroud, I don't think Arsenal carved us open as many times as the press want to believe, and many over look the fact we could have been at least one and possibly two up following early chances for James McClean and Jack Colback.

Great result that we'll be looking to build on this weekend.

Any business left to be done before the window closes?

Absolutely. By the time your readers read this we'll probably have signed Steven Fletcher after a very drawn out process, and we're all delighted by that. Those who seem to think we're overpaying haven't watched him enough, and I look very much forward to them eating their words next May.

Adam Johnson from Manchester City remains a very strong possibility and would be a huge signing for us. With him, Sessegnon and McClean in behind Fletcher... That's a hell of a strike force.

The only other concern would be at left back where Kieran Richardson has expressed a wish to leave. He's been great for us there, but he's also been a good servant to the club and we shouldn't deny him. If he goes, a replacement will have to be found very quickly.

What are your best memories of Sunderland v Reading?

There hasn't been too many meetings that I can recall well to be honest, but I think we beat you 4-1 at home once when Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn were close to peaking as a partnership. Possibly 1997ish? I'd take a repeat of that this weekend!

And the worst?

I think this was the last time we met but we got beat 2-1 at the Madjeski. Not a 'bad' result, but I remember being very disappointed with our performance and really thought we should have done better. As said above though, not that many meetings between us that stand out one way or another!

Who should Reading fans be wary of on Saturday?

On the pitch it's still the obvious dangers of Sessegnon and McClean, although it looks as though Louis Saha might get the nod in attack over Fraizer Campbell. With Fletcher arriving there's going to be a point to prove for all the strikers that they can still do something, so I'm expecting someone to step up.

Off the field though be wary of the atmosphere. Everyone likes to think their atmosphere is the best and we're no different but there's been a lot of tickets sold for this one, and it feels like ages since there was a game at the Stadium Of Light. The club have been very keen over the summer for more fan involvement and have moved the away fans to upstairs and created a 'home' end in the South Stand which has got people very excited. It should be a noisy one, as there's a real feel good factor around the club this week.

Anyone Sunderland fans are wary of?

I was talking about this on our Podcast and to be honest not really. Pogrebnyak gave us a bit of a run around at Fulham last season, and from the limited action I saw of the game with Stoke City that McCleary looks a bit bit of a player. Overall though there's no-one that makes you think "Shit! We must stop that guy!"

Tips for traveling Royals?

Just come up and enjoy yourself. There's a million and one pubs in the town centre and around the ground, and none of which will cause you any bother so long as you're not a complete tit. You're also going to have plenty of stairs to climb to the new away section, so while binoculars aren't necessary, an inhaler might be.

Score prediction?

I'm confident at the moment, so I'm going for a 3-1 win for us with McClean, Saha and Sessegnon on the score sheet with a late consolation for yourselves.

Thanks again to Simon and you can follow him on Twitter @simowalsh