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Sunderland (A) - Match Preview

"I'm only here for the Kebe, where is he?"
"I'm only here for the Kebe, where is he?"

Two games and one point so far. If you'd given us that before the start of the season most of us would have been reasonably happy but there's the nagging feeling it could and maybe should have been four if not six.

However as Brian McDermott has said plenty of times, the only thing that matters is the next game and with that sentiment in mind lets look at today's trip to Sunderland.

Head-To-Head

The two sides have met 17 times in all competitions with Reading edging it by seven wins to six with four draws. They've met just twice in the Premier League, with Sunderland winning 2-1 at the Stadium of Light before losing 2-1 at the Madejski.

The Royals have actually got a pretty decent record in Sunderland, with memorable wins in 1994, and 2005 as well as a draw in 1995. The best of those wins came in 2005 when Dave Kitson's two late goals earned Steve Coppell's side an unlikely win against a side destined for promotion.

Team News

Reading could be without Hal Robson-Kanu who's picked up a minor niggle while they'll still be without Jimmy Kebe who is still out with a hamstring injury. Jason Roberts is also available again after suspension but given his lack of pre-season activity due to injury we may not see last season's key man in the squad.

Brian's main quandary will be whether to stick with the 4-5-1 that so nearly got something at Stamford Bridge or to revert to the 4-4-2 that he employed in the first game. If it's 4-4-2 than you'd expect to see Le Fondre back in but who out of Guthrie or Karacan would sit out remains to be seen. Given the exertions midweek I'd imaging we'd revert to 4-4-2 to give one of our centre three a rest, with Karacan the one who's likely to miss out.

Reading Predicted Lineup: Federici; Harte, Gorkss, Pearce, Gunter; McAnuff (C), Guthrie, Leigertwood, McCleary; Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak

Sunderland completed two major signings this week as they added Wolves striker Steven Fletcher and Manchester City's Adam Johnson at a cost of well over £20 million, however only Fletcher was signed before the deadline for today's game.

Elsewhere Sunderland will still be without Phil Barsley and Wes Brown but could give debuts to either Fletcher or fellow new signing Lois Saha, who was on the bench.

The lads over at The Roker Report Predicted this lineup before the Fletcher deal was completed.

Sunderland Predicted Lineup: Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O'Shea, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon, Saha

The Ref

Lancashire's Neil Swarbrick

Mr Swarbrick has reffed us four times in the past, the most recent a 3-0 win over West Ham at the Madejski that saw two West Ham players sent off, one after 'sock-gate'. Overall we've won twice and lost twice with Mr Swarbrick in charge.

Best Odds

Sunderland 39/40

Draw 5/2

Reading 7/2

The Tilehurst End Prediction

Hard one to call but I'll go for a 2-1 Royals win.