Fletcher debut off: Sunderland-Reading postponed

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SUNDERLAND’s first Stadium of the Light encounter of the season against Reading today has been called off.

Torrential rain across Wearside left the Black Cats pitch sodden with water and with the rain continuing to fall, the officials decided to postpone the encounter.

Managers Martin O’Neill and Brian McDermott conducted an inspection of the pitch, along with referee Neil Swarbrick, around 1.30pm today and decided the surface was unplayable.

A statement from Sunderland said: “Despite attempts from club staff and the officials to get the game to go ahead, the postponement was announced by referee Neil Swarbrick after thorough checks on the Stadium of Light pitch.

“An announcement for the rearranged fixture will be made in due course and all tickets purchased will still be valid.”

The postponement came as a major anticlimax after Wearside had been gripped by positivity following the double signing of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson.

Fletcher had been included in the squad, while Johnson was due to be unveiled on the pitch beforehand.

But both signings will now be in contention to make their Sunderland debut in Tuesday’s Stadium of Light Capital One Cup second round encounter against Morecambe.