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Premier League preview: Reading v Sunderland

Reading will be hoping the momentum gained in their last-gasp draw with Chelsea will spur them on when they host Sunderland on Saturday.

Despite sitting second bottom on the table, Brian McDermott’s men will have renewed hope of avoiding the drop back to the Championship after picking up seven points from their past three fixtures.

The latest of those might prove to be worth than just a solitary point, after Adam Le Fondre struck a braces to deny the European champions at Madejski Stadium.

Le Fondre’s heroics will no doubt have Reading fans at full voice on Saturday, with momentum behind the team.

However, they must also be wary of the potential for a letdown after the unexpected high against Chelsea.

It should be remembered that up until the 80-minute mark of their game against Rafael Benitez’s men, they had not fired a single shot on target.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are also unbeaten in their past three league outings, with wins over West Ham and Wigan Athletic before drawing with Swansea City in mid-week.

Sitting on 29 points in the relative comfort of 11th spot, Martin O’Neill’s men are out of the relegation scrap, but would be all too aware of how easy they could be dragged into it with a poor run of results at any time until May.

O’Neill has had the benefit of almost a full array of players to pick from, with Wes Brown (knee) the only concern as it stands.

For the Royals, Jason Roberts (knee) and Alex McCarthy (shoulder) are their only injury worries ahead of the clash, and both are out indefinitely.

Recent history between the two sides suggests goals are likely, with three scored in each of their past three contests dating back to 2007.

The home side has won on each of those occasions, which is more good news for Reading as they look to preserve their Premier League status for next season.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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