Date:Friday August 24 2012
Stadium of Light
SUNDERLAND RETURN to the Stadium of Light for the first time since the end of last season as they play host to newly-promoted Reading.
The Royals secured a point on opening day, scoring a 90th minute equalizer from the penalty spot through Adam Le Fondre.
Despite a brave effort at Chelsea on Wednesday, Reading were beaten 4-2 despite goals from Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak having them in the lead at one point.
Martin O'Neill's side also drew of course, claiming a creditable goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal.
'Like every newly promoted team it's Reading's first season back in the Premier League so they'll be excited, they'll be fresh,' he said. 'They got a draw in their first game against Stoke who aren't an easy team to get a point out of so it'll be interesting on Saturday.
'If Reading play good football, they've got half a chance. Swansea did brilliantly last season and they've started on fire again this year.'
There's no Phil Bardsley or Wes Brown once more, other than that, the only potential change could be to introduce Louis Saha for a debut in place of Fraizer Campbell.
Gardner O'Shea Cuellar Richardson
Larsson Cattermole (c) Colback McClean
After several stop-start seasons ruined by injury, the 24 year-old enters the last season of his contract.
Despite a flurry of goals around the turn of the year, Campbell has yet to really hit it off at the Stadium of Light and will need to prove his worth to O'Neill this term if he is hoping to earn an extended stay.
With respect to Reading and the other newly-promoted teams, this is where the one-cap England striker needs to be filling his boots.
Only winger Jimmy Kebe is unavailable for the Royals, out with a hamstring problem until mid-September.
Gunter Pearce Gorkks Harte
McAnuff (c) Leigertwood Guthrie Robson-Kanu
Pogrebnyak Le Fondre
The powerful Russian introduced himself to the Premier League last season whilst on-loan at Fulham.
Despite the Cottagers' best efforts, Martin Jol was unable to secure the former Zenit St Petersberg forward permanently and the Royals swooped.
A Russian international, Pogrebnyak opened his account for the Berkshire club in the 4-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the middle of the week.
- Reading enjoyed just 28.4% of the ball at Chelsea.
- The Royals completed only 68% of their passes at the Stamford Bridge.
- Brian McDermott's side were more accurate in front of goal, with four of their seven efforts on target.
Mr N Swarbrick (Lancashire) One match, four yellows & no reds this season.
Reading will be a tough proposition. McDermott has added well to the squad which stormed into pole position in the Championship last season, and against a Sunderland side who are not 100% there, the Royals will fancy their chances. 2-2.
Morecambe (H) Capital One Cup, August 27.
Date:Friday August 24 2012
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