THE pressure on O’Neill and Sunderland to come away from tonight’s game with all three points is huge.
After slipping into the bottom three for the first time in four years, defeat is not an option.
It would be great to see Sunderland start the game well and have a real go at Reading’s backline.
Defensively, we have started to leak some ridiculously bad goals. Without Lee Cattermole sitting in front of the back four, we look very shaky. Reading also leak goals at the back and you would fancy Sunderland to create some chances for either Connor Wickham or Steven Fletcher up front.
Both Adam Johnson and James McClean have had much-improved games against Chelsea and managed to whip some decent crosses into the box. I fully expect both wide men to give Reading’s full-backs a tough night.
As for the rest of the side, I do believe David Vaughan deserves a starting place ahead of Seb Larsson. The Swede does not offer anything in open play and his set-pieces are not a patch on Craig Gardner’s.
I really believe Sunderland will get a much-needed win tonight. An early goal should settle us and get the crowd fully behind O’Neill’s men.
Prediction: Sunderland 3 Reading 0
Read the full Echo jury in tonight’s paper.