Reading V Sunderland at Madejski Stadium : Match Preview

02 February 2013 01:07
Reading V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hunt could figure for Royals

Noel Hunt faces a late fitness test ahead of Reading's home meeting with Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League.

The striker missed the comeback draw against Chelsea in midweek with a knock and is again a doubt for manager Brian McDermott. Jason Roberts (hip) will play no part.

McDermott must decide whether or not to promote Adam Le Fondre to the starting line-up. The striker again impressed off the bench against Chelsea, scoring twice for the second successive league game, but McDermott has stressed his best role is presently as a substitute. New signing Nick Blackman is in the squad.

Reading are a completely different side from the one which capitulated at the Stadium of Light in December, according to McDermott.

"The lads are fired up for every game and this one is no different," he said. "Sunderland played well against us at the Stadium of Light, got an early goal and went from there.

"But we know it won't be easy for them to come here now with how we are playing and long may that continue."

Danny Graham will go straight into the Sunderland squad after completing a £5million switch from Swansea.

Boss Martin O'Neill has told the striker to let his football do the talking as he attempts to prove his critics wrong.

The debate over Graham's boyhood affiliation to Newcastle and consequent attitude to his new club is still raging on.

Graham was booed by some home fans during the Swans' 0-0 draw on Wearside on Tuesday evening less than 48 hours before he signed, but O'Neill is confident he will silence his detractors by doing what he does on the pitch.

The Ulsterman said: "He wants to do well and the very fact is that the reaction he got the other evening didn't put him off coming here - that would say something about the lad - and I think he wants to go and prove himself.

"I think he has felt that during the course of his career, that's what he's had to do every single time, try to prove himself. That's probably what has kept him going.

"In the scheme of things, it's how Danny does for the football club that will determine everything else.

"I have got really no doubts that he will score goals and he will prove a great buy.

"He has got some experience, of course, because he scored goals last season, and I think he wants to prove a point. All those attributes, I find pretty nice."

Graham is likely to be included alongside defenders Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose, who could return from hamstring injuries.

However, skipper Lee Cattermole will remain on the sidelines after aggravating his knee problem once again on his return to training, while striker Louis Saha has left the club after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

Source: PA