After a 3-0 win over Barnsley on home soil, Reading go into the match in high spirits against a Sunderland team who have fallen from the grace of the Premier League to the bottom three of the Championship.
Despite Sunderland spending heavily they have failed to meet expectations of their fans and board hence the change of personnel, with Chris Coleman replacing Simon Grayson. Reading have gradually improved after poor form earlier in the season, but their patchy away record could rear its ugly head once again - or can they produce back-to-back wins replicating the Stam side of early 2017?
Form (all competitions): WLDDW
Reading have been boosted with the fitness of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who scored shortly after coming on against Barnsley, but Swift remains sidelined. The returns of Adrian Popa and Liam Kelly have also rejuvenated the squad.
The main concern is the striker department, as Yann Kermorgant’s arrival hasn't spurred the rich return of goals which the Frenchman delivered for most of 2016/2017. Expect Stam to stick with the same team as Tuesday night as it is working well and does not need massively changing due to injuries/suspensions.
Top Goal Scorer: Liam Kelly (4)
Form (all competitions): DLDLW
Sunderland on the other hand have a substantial number of players missing for the fixture against the Royals. James Vaughan misses the game after being suspended for excessively celebrating his goal in the Black Cat’s 2-0 win against Burton Albion. Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Duncan Watmore are all side-lined with injury so will not feature. This Sunderland side is in dire need of reinforcements during the January window with the arrival of Chris Coleman hoping to spur their rise up the table.
Top Goalscorer: Lewis Grabban (10)
How can I follow the game?
Audio coverage is on BBC Radio Berkshire at 104.4, but not available online. You can also listen on the EFL iFollow service in the UK, whilst the game is streamed if you’re overseas. Full match highlights will be available on the app after the game.
Reading Football Club will post highlights of the game on their respected social media pages and YouTube channel.
Personally, I think that Reading will edge a win due to the run of form they have built up and the tactical set up they have in place, compared to Sunderland’s newly formed ethos. Injuries and suspensions will catch up on the Black Cats as they face a dilemma in filling out a balanced squad. However, this is Reading we are covering so we can either expect a huge surprise or a massive disappointment. This will be close with Reading securing the win late on. Reading 2-1 Sunderland