Venue - Stadium of Light, Sunderland
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Sunderland have striker Steven Fletcher available after he completed his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a club record fee.
They are definitely without Phil Bardsley, but there is an outside chance Wes Brown could return to the bench.
Reading striker Jason Roberts is available after suspension, but is not fully fit and may not feature.
Midfielders Jem Karacan and Jimmy Kebe remain on the injury list.MATCH PREVIEW
I was in the tunnel at The Emirates last weekend when Martin O'Neill was asked which area of his team he most needed to improve before the transfer window closed. "What do you think?" was the reply. "Its obviously up front".
O'Neill's side had just claimed a hard-earned point away at Arsenal. A game in which, to be fair, Sunderland hardly needed a goalscorer. Frasier Campbell, and later substitute Louis Saha, were more like 'first defenders' than attackers. By O'Neill's own admission, Sunderland parked the bus.
However, this weekend calls for a stronger presence up front. At home, against a newly-promoted side, Sunderland's attackers will be required to do more than simply chase down opposition full-backs.
O'Neill has spent much of his week chasing the signing of Steven Fletcher from Wolves. At Molineux, and before that at Burnley, the Scottish striker has twice experienced relegation from the top flight. Despite playing in teams where chances have been at a premium, Fletcher has still managed to rack-up decent goal tallies.
Sunderland fans can only hope a new signing, like Fletcher, might enjoy as good a start as Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak. The Russian striker claimed a stunning bullet header at Stamford Bridge in midweek.
Reading's one point earned from the opening two games doesn't quite reflect their performances so far, and Brian McDermott has seen plenty of encouraging signs. Last season Reading began slowly, losing five of their first seven games, then their form skyrocketed in the second half of the campaign to ensure promotion.LINE-UPS Sunderland v Reading
- The only time the sides have met in the top flight before was in the 2007-08 season. Both matches ended in a 2-1 victory to the home side.
- They have only met 17 times before in all competitions. Sunderland have won six matches, Reading seven and there have been four draws.
- Reading scored the highest percentage of headed goals in the Championship last season (30%) while Sunderland conceded the highest percentage in the top flight (28%).
- The Black Cats won just two of their first 14 Premier League matches last season.
- And they failed to win any of their last eight league matches of the campaign, meaning they are winless in nine matches after their draw with Arsenal last week.
- The only teams to win in the league at the Stadium of Light since Martin O'Neill took charge are Arsenal and Manchester United.
- Reading had the best defence of any Championship team last season, keeping 20 clean sheets.
- Yet they scored the fewest goals of any team in the top five, notching just 69.
- In their two previous seasons in the Premier League the Royals managed just seven away wins in total - five in their first season and two in the second.